Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 16 of 41)
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from participation in national affairs until specifically read-
mitted to the Union — while it was known that President
Lincoln regarded all ordinances of secession as simply null
and void, incapable of affecting the legal relations of the
States to the National Government. At th* very opening
of the convention an effort had been made by Hon. Thad-
deus Stevens, of Pennsylvania, to secure the adoption of a
resolution against the admission of delegates from any
States thus situated. This, however, had failed, and the
whole matter was referred to the Committee on Credentials,
of which Hon. Preston King, of New York, had been ap^


pointed chairman. Mr. King, on behalf of this committee
and under its instructions, reported in favor of admitting
these delegates to seats, but without giving them the right
to vote. Mr. King, for himself, however, and as the only
member of the committee who dissented from its report,
moved to amend it by giving them equal rights in conven-
tion with delegates from the other States. This amendment
was adopted by a large majority, and affected in a marked
degree the subsequent action of the convention. The report
was further amended so as to admit delegates from the Ter-
ritories of Colorado, Nebraska, and Nevada, and also from
Florida and Virginia, without the right to vote — and excluding
a delegation from South Carolina. Thus amended it was

Mr. H. J. Raymond, of New York, as chairman of the
Committee on Resolutions, then reported the following
declaration of principles and policy for the Union and Re-
publican party: —


Resolved, That it is the highest duty of every American citizen to
maintain, against all their enemies, the integrity of the Union and
the paramount authority of the Constitution and laws of the United
States; and that, laying aside all differences of political opinion, we
pledge ourselves as Union men, animated by a common sentiment
and aiming at a common object, to do every thing in our power to
aid the Government in quelling by force of arms the rebellion now
raging against its authority, and in bringing to the punishment due
to their crimes the rebels and traitors arrayed against it.

Resolved, That we approve the determination of the Government
cf the United States not to compromise with rebels, or to offer any
terms of peace except such as may be based upon an unconditional
surrender of their hostility and a return to their just allegiance to the
Constitution and laws of the United States; and that we call upon the
Government to maintain this position and to prosecute the war with
the utmost possible vigor to the complete suppression of the rebej-
lion, in full reliance upon the self-sacrificing patriotism, the heroic
valor, and the undying devotion of the American people to their
country and its free institutions.

Resolved, That as slavery was the cause and now constitutes the
strength of this rebellion, and as it must be always and everywhere
hostile to the principles of republican government, justice and the
national safety demand its utter and complete extirpation from the
soil of the republic; and that while we uphold and maintain the acts
and proclamations by which the Government, in its own defence,
has aimed a deathblow at this gigantic evil, we are in favor, further-
more, of such an amendment to the Constitution, to be made by the


people, in conformity with its provisions, as shall terminate and for-
ever prohibit the existence of slavery within the limits or the juris-
diction of the United States.

Resolved, That the thanks of the American people are due to the
soldiers and sailors of the army and the navy, who have perilled their
lives in defence of their country and in vindication of the honor of
its flag; that the nation owes to them some permanent recognition of
their patriotism and their valor, and ample and permanent provision
for those of their survivors who have received disabling and honor-
able wounds in the service of their country; and that the memories
of those who have fallen in its defence shall be held in grateful and
everlasting remembrance.

Resolved, That we approve and applaud the practical wisdom, the
unselfish patriotism, and the unswerving fidelity to the Constitution
and the principles of American liberty with which Abraham Lincoln
has discharged under circumstances of unparalleled difficulty, the
great duties and responsibilities of the Presidential office; that we
approve and indorse, as demanded by the emergency and essential
to the preservation of the nation, and as within the provisions of the
Constitution, the measures and 'acts which he has adopted to defend
the nation against its open and secret foes; that we approve es-
pecially the Proclamation of Emancipation and the employment as
Union soldiers of men heretofore held in slavery; and that we have
full confidence in his determination to carry these and all other con-
stitutional measures, essential to the salvation of the country, into
full and complete effect.

Resolved, That we deem it essential to the general welfare that
harmony should prevail in our national councils, and we regard as
worthy of public confidence and official trust those only who cor-
dially indorse the principles proclaimed in these resolutions, and
which should characterize the administration of the Government.

Resolved, That the Government owes to all men employed in its
armies, without regard to distinction of color, the full protection of
the laws of war, and that any violation of these laws, or the usages
of civilized nations in time of war, by the rebels now in arms, should
be made the subject of prompt and full redress.

Resolved, That the foreign immigration which in the past has
added so much to the wealth, development of resources, and increase
of power of this nation, the asylum of the oppressed of all nations,
should be fostered and encouraged by a liberal and just policy.

Resolved, That we are in favor of a speedy construction of the
railroad to the Pacific coast.

Resolved, That the national faith, pledged for the redemption of
the public debt, must be kept inviolate, and that for this purpose
we recommend economy and rigid responsibility in the public ex-
penditures, and a vigorous and just system of taxation, and that it
is the duty of every loyal State to sustain the credit and promote the
use of the national currency.

Resolved, That we approve the position taken by the Government,
that the people of the United States can never regard with indiffer-
ence the attempt of any European power to overthrow by force, or to
supplant by fraud, the institutions of any republican government on the


Western Continent; and that they will view with extreme jealousy
as menacing to the peace and independence of their own country, the
efforts of any such power to obtain new footholds for monarchial
governments, sustained by foreign military force, in near proximity
to the United States.

These resolutions were adopted unanimously and with
great enthusiasm. A motion was then made that Abraham
Lincoln be nominated for re-election by acclamation, but
this was afterwards withdrawn, and a ballot taken in the
usual way ; the only votes that were not given for Mr. Lin-
coln were the twenty-two votes of Missouri, which, as was
explained by the chairman of the delegation, were given
under positive instructions for General Grant. Mr. Lincoln
received four hundred and ninety-seven votes, and on motion
of Mr. Hume, of Missouri, his nomination was made unani-
mous, amid intense enthusiasm.

The contest over the Vice-Presidency was spirited but
brief. The candidates before the convention were Vice Presi-
dent Hamlin, Hon. D. S. Dickinson, of New York, and An-
drew Johnson, of Tennessee. The struggle lay, however,
between Mr. Johnson and Mr. Dickinson. The action of
the Convention in admitting the delegates from Tennessee
to full membership had a powerful effect in determining the
result. Mr. Johnson received two hundred votes on the first
call of the States, and it being manifest that he was to be
the nominee, other States changed, till the vote, when de-
clared, stood four hundred and ninety-two for Johnson, sev-
enteen for Dickinson, and nine for Hamlin.

The National Executive Committee was then appointed,
and the convention adjourned. On Thursday, June 9, the
committee appointed to inform Mr. Lincoln of his nomi-
nation waited upon him at the White House. Governor Den-
nison, the President of the Convention and Chairman of the
Committee, addressed him as follows : —

Mr. President: — The National Union Convention, which closed its
sittings at Baltimore yesterday, appointed a committee, consisting of
one from each State, with myself as chairman, to inform you of your
unanimous nomination by that convention for election to the office
of President of the United States. That committee, I have the honor
of now informing you, is present. On its behalf I have also the
honor of presenting you with a copy of the resolutions or platform
adopted by that convention, as expressive of its sense and of the
sense of the loyal people of the country which it represents, of the


principles and policy that should characterize the administration of
the Government in the present condition of the country. I need
not say to you, sir, that the convention, in thus unanimously nomi-
nating you for re-election, but gave utterance to the almost universal
voice of the loyal people of the country. To doubt of your trium-
phant election would be little short of abandoning the hope of a
final suppression of the rebellion and the restoration of the govern-
ment over the insurgent States. Neither the convention nor those
represented by that body entertained any doubt as to the final result,
under your administration, sustained by the loyal people, and by our
noble army and gallant navy. Neither did the convention, nor do
this committee, doubt the speedy suppression of this most wicked and
unprovoked rebellion.

(A copy of the resolutions, which had been adopted, was here
handed to the President.)

I would add, Mr. President, that it would be the pleasure of the
committee to communicate to you within a few days, through one of
its most accomplished members, Mr. Curtis, of New York, by letter,
more at length the circumstances under which you have been placed
in nomination for the Presidency. „

The President said in response : —

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Committee:— I will neither
conceal my gratification, nor restrain the expression of my gratitude,
that the Union people, through their convention, in the continued
effort to save and advance the nation, have deemed me not unworthy
to remain in my present position. I know no reason to doubt that I
shall accept the nomination tendered; and yet, perhaps, I should not
declare definitely before reading and considering what is called the
platform. I will say now, however, that I approve the declaration in
favor of so amending the Constitution as to prohibit slavery through-
out the nation. When the people in revolt, with the hundred days'
explicit notice that they could within those days resume their al-
legiance without the overthrow of their institutions, and that they
could not resume it afterward, elected to stand out such an amend-
ment of the Constitution as is now proposed became a fitting and
necessary conclusion to the final success of the Union cause. Such
alone can meet and cover all cavils. I now perceive its importance
and embrace it. In the joint names of Liberty and Union let us
labor to give it legal form and practical effect.

At the conclusion of the President's speech, all of the
committee shook him cordially by the hand and offered their
personal congratulations.

On the same afternoon a deputation from the National
Union League waited upon the President, and the chairman
addressed him as follows: —

Mr. President: — I have the honor pf introducing to you the rep-


resentatives of the Union League of the Loyal States, to congratu-
late you upon your renomination, and to assure you that we will not
fail at the polls to give you the support that your services in the
past so highly deserve. We feel honored in doing this, for we are
assured that we are aiding in re-electing to the proud position of
President of the United States one so highly worthy of it — one
among not the least of whose claims is that he was the emancipator
ot four millions of bondmen.

The President replied as follows: —

Gentlemen : — I can only say in response to the remarks of your
chairman, that I am very grateful for the renewed confidence which
has been accorded to me, both by the convention and by the National
League. I am not insensible at all to the personal compliment there
is in this, yet I do not allow myself to believe that any but a small
portion of it is to be appropriated as a personal compliment to me.
The convention and the nation, I am assured, are alike animated by a
higher view of the interests of the country, for the present and the
great future, and the part I am entitled to appropriate as a compli-
ment is only that part which I may lay hold of as being the opinion
of the convention and of the League, that I am not entirely unworthy
to be intrusted with the place I have occupied for the last three years.
I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the
best man in the country; but I am reminded in this connection of a
story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once
that "it was not best to swap horses when crossing a stream."

On the evening of the same day the President was sere-
naded by the delegation from Ohio, and to them and the
large crowd which had gathered there, he made the following
brief speech : —

Gentlemen : — I am very much obliged to you for this compliment.
I have just been saying, and will repeat it, that the hardest of all
speeches I have to answer is a serenade. I never know what to say
on these occasions. I suppose that you have done me this kindness
in connection with the action of the Baltimore Convention, which
has recently taken place, and with which, of course, I am very well
satisfied. What we want still more than Baltimore Conventions, or
Presidential elections, is success under General Grant. I propose
that you constantly bear in mind that the support you owe to the
brave officers and soldiers in the field is of the very first importance,
and we should therefore bend all our energies to that point. Now
without detaining you any longer, I propose that you help me to
close up what I am now saying with three rousing cheers for Gen-
eral Grant and the officers and soldiers under his command.

The rousing cheers were given — Mr. Lincoln himself lead-
ing off, and waving his hat as earnestly as any one present.
The written address of the Committee of the Convention


announcing his nomination, sent to him a few days after-
wards, was as follows : —

New York, June 14, 1864.
Hon. Abraham Lincoln.

Sir : — The National Union Convention, which assembled in Balti-
more on June 7th, 1864, has instructed us to inform you that you were
nominated with enthusiastic unanimity for the Presidency of the
United States for four years from the 4th of March next.

The resolutions of the convention, which we have already had the
pleasure of placing in your hands, are a full and clear statement of
the principles which inspired its action, and which, as we believe,
the great body of Union men in the country heartily approve.
Whether those resolutions express the national gratitude to our sol-
diers and sailors, or the national scorn of compromise with rebels,
and consequent dishonor or the patriotic duty of union and success;
whether they approve the Proclamation of Emancipation, the Con-
stitutional Amendment, the employment of former slaves as Union
soldiers, or the solemn obligation of the Government promptly to
redress the wrongs of every soldier of the Union, of whatever color
or race; whether they declare the inviolability of the plighted faith of
the nation, or offer the national hospitality to the oppressed of every
land, or urge the union by railroad of the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans ; whether they recommend public economy and vigorous tax-
ation, or assert the fixed popular opposition to the establishment by
armed force of foreign monarchies in the immediate neighborhood of
the United States, or declare that those only are worthy of official
trust who approve unreservedly the views and policy indicated in
the resolutions — they were equally hailed with the heartiness of pro-
found conviction.

Believing with you, sir, that this is the people's war for the mainte-
nance of a Government which you have justly described as "of the
people, by the people, for the people," we are very sure that you will
be glad to know, not only from the resolutions themselves, but from
the singular harmony and enthusiasm with which they were adopted,
how warm is the popular welcome of every measure in the prosecu-
tion of the war which is as vigorous, unmistakable, and unfaltering
as the national purpose itself. No right, for instance, is so precious
and sacred to the American heart as that of personal liberty. Its
violation is regarded with just, instant, and universal jealousy. Yet,
in this hour of peril every faithful citizen concedes that, for the sake
of national existence and the common welfare, individual liberty 'may,
as the Constitution provides in case of rebellion, be sometimes sum-
marily constrained, asking only with painful anxiety that in every
instance, and to the least detail, that absolute necessary power shall
not be hastily or unwisely exercised.

We believe, sir, that the honest will of the Union men of the
country was never more truly represented than in this convention.
Their purpose we believe to be the overthrow of armed rebels in the
field, and the security of permanent peace and union, by liberty and
justice, under the Constitution. That these results are to be achieved



amid cruel perplexities, they are fully aware. That they are to be
reached only through cordial unanimity of counsel, is undeniable
That good men may sometimes differ as to the means and the time,
they know. That in the conduct of all human affairs the highest
duty is to determine, in the angry conflict of passion, how much good
may be practically accomplished, is their sincere persuasion. They
have watched your official course, therefore, with unflagging atten-
tion; and amid the bitter taunts of eager friends and the fierce de-
nunciation of enemies, now moving too fast for some, now too
slowly for others, they have seen you throughout this tremendous
contest patient, sagacious, faithful, just — leaning upon the heart of
the great mass of the people, and satisfied to be moved by its mighty

It is for this reason that, long before the convention met, the
popular instinct indicated you as its candidate; and the convention,
therefore, merely recorded the popular will. Your character and
career prove your unswerving fidelity to the cardinal principles of
American liberty and of the American Constitution. In the name of
that liberty and Constitution, sir, we earnestly request your accept-
ance of this nomination; reverently commending our beloved coun-
try, and you, its Chief Magistrate, with all its brave sons who, on
sea and land, are faithfully defending the good old American cause
of equal rights, to the blessing of Almighty God.

We are, sir, very respectfully, your friends and fellow-citizens.

Wm. Dennison, O., Chairman.

Josiah Drummond, Maine.

Thos. E. Sawyer, N. H.

Bradley Barlow, Vt.

A. H. Bullock, Mass.

A. M. Gammell, R. I.

C. S. Bushnell, Conn.

G. W. Curtis, N. Y.

W. A. Newell, N. J.

Henry Johnson, Penn.

N. B. Smithers, Del.

W. L. W. Seabrook, Md.

John F. Hume, Mo.

G. W. Hite, Ky.

E. P. Tyffe, Ohio.

Cyrus M. Allen, Ind.

W. Bushnell, 111.

L. P. Alexander, Mich.

A. W. Randall, Wis.

A. Oliver, Iowa.

Thomas Simpson, Minn.

John Bidwell, Cal.

Thomas H. Pearne, Oregon.

Leroy Kramer, West Va.

A. C. Wilder, Kansas.

M. M. Brien, Tennessee.

J. P. Greves, Nevada.

A. A. Atocha, La.

A. S. Paddock, Nebraska.

Valentine Dell, Arkansas.

John A. Nye, Colorado.

A. B. Sloanaker, Utah.


Executive Mansion, Washington, June 27, 1864.

Hon. Wm. Dennison and others, a Committee of the Union Na-
tional Convention :

Gentlemen :— Your letter of the 14th inst, formally notifying me
that I have been nominated by the convention you represent for the
Presidency of the United States for four years from the 4th of March
next, has been received. The nomination is gratefully accepted, as


the resolutions of the convention, called the platform, are heartily

While the resolution in regard to the supplanting of republican gov-
ernment upon the Western Continent is fully concurred in, there
might be misunderstanding were I not to say that the position of the
Government in relation to the action of France in Mexico, as as-
sumed through the State Department and indorsed by the convention
among the measures and acts of the Executive, will be faithfully
maintained so long as the state of facts shall leave that position perti-
nent and applicable.

I am especially gratified that the soldier and seaman were not for-
gotten by the convention, as they forever must and will be remem-
bered by the grateful country for whose salvation they devote their

Thanking you for the kind and complimentary terms in which you
have communicated the nomination and other proceedings of the
convention, I subscribe myself,

Your obedient servant,

Abraham Lincoln.

The platform adopted by the Baltimore Convention met
with the general approval of those of the people who claimed
to be the supporters of the Government. One exception
was, however, found in the person of Mr. Charles Gibson,
Solicitor of the United States in the Court of Claims at St.
Louis, who considering, as he said, that that platform ren-
dered his retention of office under Mr. Lincoln's Administra-
tion wholly useless to the country, as well as inconsistent
with his principles, tendered his resignation, through the
clerk of the Court of Claims, Mr. Welling.

The President's reply, communicated through his private
secretary, was as follows : —

Executive Mansion, Washington, July 25, 1864.
J. C. Welling, Esq. :—

According to the request contained in your note, I have placed Mr.
Gibson's letter of resignation in the hands of the President. He
has read the letter, and says he accepts the resignation, as he will be
glad to do with any other, which may be tendered, as this is, for the
purpose of taking an attitude of hostility against him.

He says he was not aware that he was so much indebted to Mr.
Gibson for having accepted the office at first, not remembering that
he ever pressed him to do so, or that he gave it otherwise than as
usual, upon a request made on behalf of Mr. Gibson.

He thanks Mr. Gibson for his acknowledgment that he has been
treated with personal kindness and consideration, and he says he
knows of but two small drawbacks upon Mr. Gibson's right to still
receive such treatment, one of which is that he could never learn of


his giving much attention to the duties of his office, and the other is
this studied attempt of Mr. Gibson's to stab him.
I am, very truly,
Your obedient servant, John Hay.

The dements of opposition to Mr. Lincoln's election in
the ranks of his own party were checked, though not wholly
destroyed, by the unanimity of his nomination. Conferences
were still held among prominent men, especially in the city
of New York, for the purpose of organizing this hostility and
making it effective, and a call was put in circulation for a
convention to be held at Cincinnati, to put in nomination an-
other candidate. The movement, however, was so utterly
destitute of popular sympathy that it was soon abandoned.
A very sharp and acrimonious warfare was still waged upon
Mr. Lincoln and his Administration, not only by the leading
presses of the opposition, but by prominent men and influ-
ential journals ostensibly in the ranks of his supporters.

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 16 of 41)