James Dabney McCabe.

The life and public services of Horatio Seymour: together with a complete and authentic life of Francis P. Blair, jr (Volume 1) online

. (page 1 of 34)
Online LibraryJames Dabney McCabeThe life and public services of Horatio Seymour: together with a complete and authentic life of Francis P. Blair, jr (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



i^/ A

^/^ ^-J

'■-C X

pc^-^ ^'



^. 7,-^



f / W

Cr^t: ^^^^ '^'^y^.^p, ^ , ,

//7^U^^^ /'

















Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by


In the Clerk's OflBce of the District Court of the United States fo\ tne

Southern District of New York.



M, 18 & SO Qreeoe Stnot, N, T.

Who Loye Constitutional Liberty,

» OP



When a citizen of the Kepublic is presented to the
people for election by them to the highest public posi-
tion in their gift, it is eminently proper that they
should know the events of his previous life, in order
that they may be enabled to form from them an intel-
lio-ent opinion as to his qualifications for the position
to which he aspires. Especially is it important that
they should have this knowledge when it is proposed
to place him at the head of the nation in a time like the
present, when the country, almost on the brink of ruin,
requires in its Chief Magistrate not only personal
purity and political integrity, but also the highest and
most profound wisdom, and the greatest and most
unwavering firmness, — a wisdom which shall fore-
see and provide against the dangers which threaten
our institutions and prosperity, and a firmness which,
resisting all the temptations of a selfish ambition, shall
keep the Republic true to itself and to its God-given

The author believes that the Democratic party
have presented such a man to the suffrages of the


country in their nomination of Mr. Seymour, and he
has endeavored to make this book a work which shall
place within the reach of all, a brief, comprehensive, and
convenient record of the services upon which the Demo-
cracy base their estimate of their leader, in the coming
contest. He has carefully refrained from intruding
his own opinions upon the reader, and his aim has
been to express the view taken by the majority of the
Democratic party with regard to the questions herein

It seemed but just to include in the book, a historj''
of the life of the candidate of the party for the Vice-
Presidency, as a work of this character would be incom-
plete without it. The Vice-Presidency has become of
late years, more prominent and more important in the
estimation of the public than in times gone by, and
the people have been taught that it is of vital conse-
quence to choose their high officers in such a manner,
that if, in the Providence of God, the country is at
any time deprived of its Executive, his Constitutional
successor may be a man capable of discharging the
duties of the position. The Democratic party, fully
realizing this, have chosen for the second place in the
Government the man best fitted for it — one whose
merits as a statesman are equalled only by his genius
as a soldier, whose courage and integrity, both per-
sonal and political, are without question, and whose


devotion to the great principles of the Constitution has
been attested upon many a hard-fought field.

With such leaders, and under the inspiration of
such principles as are set forth in its platform, the
Democratic party enters upon the present campaign,
with a confidence which is the sure harbinger of success.
It cannot fail, for, as its most eloquent historian* de-
clares, " It represents the great principles of progress.
It is onward and outward in its movements. It has a
heart for action, and motives for a world. It consti-
tutes the principle of diffusion, and is to humanity
what the centrifugal force is to the revolving orbs of
the universe. What motion is to them, democracy is to
principle. It is the soul of action. It conforms to
the providence of God. It has confidence in man and
an abiding reliance in his high destiny. It seeks the
largest liberty^ the greatest good, and the surest hap-
piness. It aims to build up the great interests of the
many, to the least detriment of the few. It remem-
bers the past, without neglecting the present. It estab-
lishes the present, without fearing to provide for the
future. It cares for the weak, while it permits no
injustice to the strong. It conquers the oppressor,
and prepares the subjects of tyranny for freedom.
It melts the bigot's heart to meekness, and reconciles

* Fahum Capen. His " History of Democracy of the United States,"
is soon to be published.


his mind to knowledge. It dispels the clouds of
ignorance and superstition, and prepares the people
for instruction and self-respect. It adds Avisdom to
legislation, and improved judgment to government.
It favors enterprise that yields a reward to the many,
and an industry that is permanent It is the pioneer
of humanity, the conservator of nations. It fails only
tvlien it ceases to he true to itself. Vox popuU Vox
Dei has proved to be both a proverb and a prediction."

Copious extracts from the letters, speeches and
messages, of Governor Seymour and General Blair are
given in this book, in order that the reader may
judge them by their own words. Their declarations
are plain and not susceptible of misinterpretation,
and are believed to be more interesting to the general
reader than a mass of mere details could be.

The book is given to the public with the hope
that it may aid, in some degree, in bringing about,
in November next, the election of men who desire
the perpetuation and not the destruction of our Con-
stitution and system of Government.

J. D. McC, Jr.

New York, August 1st, 1868,



The Seymour Family — Birth of Horatio Seymour — Childhood — Educa-
tion — Decides to adopt the Law as his Profession — Early Studies —
Entrance upon his Duties — Death of his Father and Father-iu-Law —
Early Political Life — Attaches himself to the Democratic Party —
Elected to the Legislature of New York — His Services in that Body —
His Success in Puhlic Life — Elected Mayor of Utica — Reelected to
the Legislature — Retires to Private Life and resumes the Prac-
tice of tlie Law — The Erie Canal Question — Nominated for Governor
— Defeated— Elected Governor of New York — His Course as Gov-
ernor Sustained by the Court of Appeals 17


Mr. Seymour is Re-nominated for Governor by the Democracy — Is De-
feated by Mr. Clark — Resumes the Practice of the Law — His interest
in Public Affairs — His Marked Success as a Public Man — Services in
Behalf of the Democratic Party — Attends the Charleston Convention
— Declines to be a Candidate for the Presidency — Services during the
Presidential Campaign of 1860— The Secession troubles — Mr. Sey-
mour urges a Policy of Conciliation towards the South— The Demo-
cratic Convention at Tweddle Hall — Character of the Convention —
Remarks of Judge Parker — Resolutions Adopted — Noble Speech of
Governor Seymour — His views upon the Condition of the Country —
A Plea for Justice and Humanity — A Patriotic Declaration — Mr.
Seymour's Course respecting the Troubles — The "War — Mr. Seymour
Retires to his Home — Efforts in Behalf of the Union Cause — Serves
as a Member of the County Committee for raising and equipping
troops — Summary of his Views respecting the "War, as drawn from
his Public Speeches 25



The "War divides tbe people of the North into two great Parties — Politi-
cal affairs in New York — Meeting of the Democratic Convention —
Mr. Seymour Nominated for Governor — Platform of the New York
Democracy — The Eepublicans Nominate General Wadsworth — Mr.
Seymour is elected — His Inaugural Address — His Message to the
Legislature — Review of the Condition of the Country — He Points
out the Causes of the War — Shows the Dangers which Threaten
the Country — Denunciation of the Excesses of the Republicans — It
is not too Late to Save the Union — ^Errors of the Administration —
Danger to be Apprehended from a Consolidated Government — Out-
rages Practiced upon the People — Martial Law — The Union is In-
dissoluble — How it may be Saved — Eloquent Peroration — Trouble in
the Legislature — A dignified Message — Governor Seymour's Speech in
New York, July 4th, 1863— Review of the State of the Country —
Eloquent Appeal for Mercy and Conciliation — Comments upon the
Address — Mr. Seymour's Wisdom and Far-sightedness — His Candor
and Intrepidity the best proofs of his Patriotism 39


Invasion of Pennsylvania by General Lee — Alarm in the North — Excite-
ment in New York — The Government Calls for Troops from the
Border States — The President asks New York for aid — Prompt
Reply of Governor Seymour— Orders of the State Authorities — Pa-
triotic Response of the Troops — Aid sent to the Border — Statement
of Troops sent by New York — Energy of Governor Seymour — Re-
publican Testimony on this point — Messages from the Government
— The President and Secretary of War thank Governor Seymour
for the Prompt Assistance given by him — Testimony of Mr. Lincoln —
The OflScial Correspondence between the State and Federal Author-
ities — Incontestible Proofs — Statement of the "Philadelphia Age " —
Mr. Seymour Triumphantly Vindicated by his own. acts from the
Calumnies of his Enemies 59


A Brief History of the Conscription— The System Opposed to the Spirit
of the Constitution — Congress Passes a Conscription Law — Feeling


of tLe People of the Union upon the Subject — Unjustifiable Course
of the Administration Towards the Opponents of its Policy — No
Necessity for a Draft — Views of the Democratic Party as Staled by
the " New York World " — The Law to be Tested in the Courts — The
Government Decides to Enforce the Draft in New York City during
the Absence of the State Troops — Notice by the Provost- Marshal —
Indignation of the Citizens — The Draft Begun — The First Day's
Proceedings — Hostility of the Working Men to the Draft — Secret
Meetings in the Laboring Districts — Resisiance Determined upon —
Monday, July 13th — Resumption of the Draft — The First Bh)w —
Attack upon, and Destruction of the Provost-Marshal's Office — The
Eiot Begun — Heroism of the Firemen — Outrages of the Mob — De-
fencekss Condition of the City — Weakness of the Authorities — The
Call for Troops— Increase of the Troubles — The Rioters D. feat the
U. S. Marines — Fight on Third Avenue — Burning of tlie Orphan
Asylum — Attack on the State Armory — Gallant Defence by the
Police — Burning of Buildings by the Mob — Attack on the '" Tribune "
Office — Rioters Defeated by the Police — Outrages upon tiie Negroes
— Heroic Conduct of the Police — Arrival of Governor Seymour in the
City — His Proclamation to the Rioters — He Declares the City in a
State of Insurrection — Progress of the Riot — Attack on the Negro
Quarters — Murder of Colonel O'Brien — Arrival of Troops — The
Rioters Defeated by the Militaiy — The State Troops Ordered Home —
Speech of Governor Seymour to the Crowd in the Park — Effect of
the Speech — Misrepresentations by the Republican Press — Disin-
genuousness of the " Albany Evening Journal " — Course of Arch-
bishop Hughes — His Speech — Comments — Return of the State
Troops — The Riot put down — Slanders of the Republican Party —
Governor Seymour's Course Vindicated 75


The Draft Suspended in New York City — Injustice of the Government to
New York — Governor Seymour Calls the Attention of the President
to the Inequality in the Apportionment of Conscripts — He Asks that
tlie Draft be Suspended Temporarily in the State — Justice of his
Demand— Reply of the President — A Weak Argument— Refuses to
Suspend the Draft— Correspondence between the Governor and the
President — Preparations for Resuming the Draft in New York City
and Brooklyn— Letter of General Dix to the Governor — Correspond-


enoe between Governor Seymour and General Dix — Bold and In-
dependent Course of the Governor — He Maintains the Independence
of his State, and fastens the Odium and Responsibility of the Draft
upon the Administration — Proclamation by the Governor — Governor
Seymour's Course Dictated by an Exalted Patriotism — Review of his
Acts — His Course Sustained by the Commission Appointed by the
War Department — He Receives the Thanks of the Legislature — ■
Letter Relating to the Enlistment of Colored Troops 113


Meeting of the Democratic Convention of the State — Pledges its Support
to the Government in all Lawful Measures for bringing the War to
a Successful Close — Mass Meeting at Albany to Consider tlie Un-
lawful Arrest of Mr. Yallandigham — Letter of the Governor — Pro-
ceedinpsof the Meeting — Correspondence of the Committee with the
President — Meetings throughout the State — Course of Governor
Seymour Indorsed by all — Democratic Meeting at Syracuse — Elo-
quent Speech of Governor Seymour — A Plain Statement of Facts —
Meeting of the Legislature — The Governor's Message — Review of the
Draft, and his Action therein — Statement of his action during the
Riots — Eloquent Appeal for the Union — EtForts of the Governor
in Behalf of the Credit of the State — His Success 135


The Bogus Proclamation of Mr, Lincoln — Deception Practiced upon Dem-
ocratic Newspapers — Suppression of the "World" and "Journal of
Commerce " — Highhanded Measures of the Administration — Gov-
ernor Seymour's Action in tlie Case — His Instructions to the District
Attorney — Action in the Case — Refusal of the Grand Jury to do its
Duty — The Governor's Instructions to Mr. Hall — Proceedings against
General Dix and his Officers — Trial of the Case before Judge Russell
— Decision of the Court — The Sequel — Meeting of the Chicago Con-
vention — Mr. Seymour chosen President of that Body — His Services
during the Presidential Campaign — He Procures the Passage of a
Law for Collecting the Votes of the State Troops in the Field-
Statement of tlie Provisions of this Law — Mr. Seymour again nom-
inated for Governor by the Democratic State Convention — His Cir-
cular to the Officers of the New York Troops in the Federal Service


— His Anxiety for a Fair election — Measures on the part of the Gov-
ernment to Control the Election — ^The Keign of Terror — Proclama-
tion by the Governor — The Election — How the Administration Car-
ried it — Mr. Seymour Defeated by Mr. Fenton 171


Efforts of the Governor to Secure a Fair Vote in the Army — Alleged
Fraud on the part of State Agents — Arrest of Ferry and Donohue —
They are Tried and Sentenced by a Military Commission — Arrest of
Colonel North and others — They are imprisoned in the Old Capitol —
The Governor Resolves to Defend their Rights as Citizens of New
York — Commissioners sent to "Washington — His Letter of Instruc-
tions — Action of the Commissioners — Their Interview with the Sec-
retary of "War — Their first Requests Complied with — They Visit the
Prisoners — Inhuman Treatment of its Prisoners by the Administra-
tion — No Charges made against them — The Letter of the Commis-
sioners to the Secretary of War — Statement of the Case — The Gov-
ernment without Jurisdiction in the matter — Reply of the "War De-
partment — The Sovereignty of New York Outraged by the Admin-
istration — Departure of the Commissioners — Persecution of Colonel
North and his Companions — Their Acquittal and Subsequent cap-
tivity — Slanders of the Republicans upon Governor Seymour — Their
Shallowness — Mr. Seymour Retires to Private Life — The Democratic
State Convention — Tribute to President Johnson — Mr. Seymour's
Speech at Cooper Institute in June, 1868 — A Magnificent Efibrt —
Review and Denunciation of the Republican Policy — The Radicals
Exposed to the Public Scorn 189


The National Democratic Convention of 1868 — ^Arrival of Delegates in
New York — Scenes in the City — Preparations for the Convention —
Review of the Prospects of Candidates — Noble Letter from Mr.
Pendleton — Mr. Seymour Declines to bo a Candidate — The " New
York Citizen" on Mr. Seymour — Patriotism of the Pendleton Men —
The Convention — The North and South Renew their old Harmony
— Organization of the Convention— Mr. Seymour Chosen its Pres-
ident — Reception by the Convention — His Speech — A Scathing Re-
view of Radicalism — Adoption of the Platform — Eloquent Statement


of the Principles of the Party — Adoption of the "Two-Thirds Rule "
— The Nominations — Balloting — A " Dead-Lock " — Withdrawal of
Mr. Pendleton — His Friends Insist upon the Nomination of Governor
Seymour — He Declines the Honor — Scene in the Convention — Mr.
Seymour is compelled to Submit to the Will of the Party — Enthusi-
asm — He is Declared the Unanimous Choice of the Convention for
the Presidency — Nomination of General Blair for the Vice-Pres-
idency — Statement of the Ballots for President — Final Adjournment
of the Convention 233


Mr. Seymour Decides to Accept the Nomination conferred upon him by
the Convention — The Motives of his Action — Formal Tender of the
Nomination — Scene in Tammany Hall — Speech of General Morgan
— Reply of Mr. Seymour — Enthusiasm — Meeting in Fourteenth
Street — Speech of Mr. Seymour — How the News was received
throughout the Country — Comments of the Press — Tributes from
Republicans — Governor Seymour returns Home — Scenes along the
Route — Arrival in Utica — His Welcome Home — ^An overwhelming
Demonstration — His Speech at Utica — Retires to his Home— His
Letter of Acceptance 269








The Seymour Family — Birth of Horatio Seymour — Childhood — Educa-
tion — Decides to adopt the Law as his Profession — Early Studies —
Entrance upon his Duties — Death of his Father, and Father-in-Law —
Early Political Life — Attaches himself to the Democratic Party —
Elected to the Legislature of New York — His Services in that Body — •
His Success in Public Life — Elected Mayor of TJtica — Reelected to
the Legislature — Retires to Private Life, and resumes the Practice
of the Law — The Erie Canal Question — Nominated for Governor —
Defeated — Elected Governor of New York — His course as Governor
sustained by the Court of Appeals.

Among the orii2;inal settlers of Connecticut, was one
named Ricliard Seymour, a just, God-fearing man, who,
for conscience-sake, followed the pious Hooker through
the untracked forest, to found for himself and his pos-
terity a home in which they could worship God after
the manner of their fathers, with none to molest or
make them afraid. The descendants of this good man
lived at Hartford, in the old homestead, until Moses
Seymour, the fourth in descent from the founder of the
family, grew to manhood. Moses Seymour removed


to Litchfield, which he represented for seventeen years
in the Legislature of Connecticut. He served gal-
lantly through the Revolution, as a Major in the
Connecticut line, and established a high reputation
for bravery, efficienc}', and ability. He married a
dausfhter of Colonel Marsh, of Connecticut, a distin-
guished officer of the Continental Army, and by her had
five sons. The eldest of these sons, Henry Seymour,
was born in 1780, and upon attaining his majority, re-
moved to Onondaga County, in the State of New York.
He took a leading part in the politics of the day, and
was known as a man of fine abilities and unblemished
integrity. He served for several terms in the State
Legislature, and was for many years Canal Commis-
sioner. He also acquired considerable property, which
he left to his children. He was the father of the sub-
ject of this memoir.

Horatio Seymour was born at Pompey, Onondaga
County, New York, in the year 1811. He received a
liberal and thorough education inf the best schools and
academies of the State. No pains were spared by his
parents to fit him for taking a prominent position in
public affairs, to which career he seems to have been
devoted from his childhood ; and their efforts met with
a ready and earnest cooperation on his part. He was
a close and diligent student, and being possessed of
fine natural abilities, took at once and maintained a
leading position in his class. He was the best scholar
and the readiest speaker in his classes, and from the
first won the esteem and confidence of his com-


Young Seymour at au early day decided to adopt
the law as his profession, and his studies were all
shaped with a view to prepare him for it. Upon the
close of his collegiate course, he commenced the study
of the law, which he pursued with vigor and industry.
So successful was he in his efforts, that he was ad-
mitted to the bar when only a little more than twenty
years old. He at once entered upon the practice of
his profession in the city of Utica. The prospect before
.him was very flattering, and he had every reason to
expect an immediate and brilliant success; but the
death of his father, occurring about this period, com-
pelled him to give the greater portion of his time to
the task of settling the large and somewhat compli-
cated estate which Henry Seymour left behind him.
These duties were engrossing and numerous. Mr.
John R. Bleecker, his wife's father, died some time
after this, leaving a large estate, to the settlement
of which Mr. Seymour devoted much time. He paid
little attention to his profession, preferring to give
his time to the management of his estate, which
has, under his care, become one of the finest in
New York. Mr. Seymour, meanwhile, kept steadily
in view the great career he had marked out for
himself; and realizing that he who would lead men
must know man, pursued a thorough and systematic
course of study, and after the close of the duties re-
ferred to above, again entered upon the practice of his

In his earlier years he took very little active interest
in political affairs, though his sympathies, tastes, and


convictions led him to vote with the Democratic party,
to which his family had been attached for several gen-
erations. His social position, his high personal char-
acter, and his acknowledged abilities, made him a
valuable acquisition to the party, and efforts were not
wanting on the part of its leaders to induce him to
enter actively into political life. For some years he
steadily refused to do this, but at length, in the fall of
1842, when not quite thirty-one years of age, he con-
sented to accept the Democratic nomination for mem-
ber of the Assembly, in the State Legislature. At
this time the Whigs had a decided majority in Oneida,
and the Democrats had for some years been unsuccess-
ful in their efforts, but notwithstanding this, Mr. Sey-
mour was elected by a handsome majority, his per-
sonal popularity having drawn off a large share of the
Whig vote from the candidate of that party.

As was to be expected, Mr. Seymour took a com-
manding position in the Legislature. The Assembly
at that day, was no insignificant body. It contained,
besides Mr. Seymour, such men as John A. Dix,
Michael Hoffman, L^xvid R. Floyd Jones, George R.
Davis, Lemuel Stetson, and Calvin T. Hulburd. The
session was one of the most memorable in the history
of New York, and the debates were marked by a rare
display of ability and eloquence. The Democrats were
largely in the ascendency in both branches of the Leg-
islature, and the measures of the session were import-
ant. The great question of the day was Michael Hoff-

Online LibraryJames Dabney McCabeThe life and public services of Horatio Seymour: together with a complete and authentic life of Francis P. Blair, jr (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 34)