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2. Resolved, That all questions in regard to the rights of property in States or Territories arising under the Constitution of the United States are judicial in their character, and the Democratic party is pledged to abide by and faithfully carry out such determination of these questions as has been or may be made by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Mr. Yancey of Alabama rose . . . and received a perfect ovation. The hall for several minutes rang with applause. It appeared at once that the outside pressure was with the fire-eaters.
. . . He filled up his time (an hour and a half) with great effect. There was no question after he had been upon the platform a few minutes, that he was a man of remarkable gifts of intellect and captivating powers as a speaker. He reviewed the differences on the slavery question of the Democracy. He charged that the defeats of the Democracy in the North were to be traced to the pandering by the party in the free States to anti-slavery sentiments; they had not come up to the high ground which must be taken on the subject, in order to defend the South—namely, that slavery was right. . . . He traced the history of Northern aggression and Southern concession as he understood it. He spoke of the deep distrust the South had begun to entertain of the Northern Democracy, and urged the propriety of the demand of the South, that the Democratic party should now take clear and high ground upon a constitutional basis. He pronounced false all charges that the State of Alabama, himself or his colleagues, were in favor of a dissolution of the Union per se. But he told the Democracy of the North that they must, in taking high constitutional ground, go before the people of the North and tell them of the inevitable dissolution of the Union if constitutional principles did not prevail at the ballot-boxes. He spoke of the Democratic indorsement which the majority platform had received, saying that not one State which had voted against it, in committee, could be certainly relied upon to cast Democratic electoral votes, while every State that had supported that platform, with but one exception (Maryland) could, upon that platform, be counted absolutely certain in the electoral college for the Democratic candidate. He spoke directly to Southern men and appealed to them to present a united front in favor of a platform that recognized their rights and guaranteed their honor. He said defeat upon principle was better than a mere victory gained by presenting ambiguous issues and cheating the people. . . . The Southerners in the hall were thoroughly warmed up by his speech, and applauded with rapturous enthusiasm. Several of his points were received with outbursts of applause that rung around the hall as if his
hearers had been made to shout and stamp by the simultaneous action of electricity. One of his most effective points was in relation to the Dred Scott decision and the plea made by Douglas and others that almost all of it was mere obiter dicta. This plea was disrespectful to the venerable man, who, clothed in the supreme ermine, had made an exposition of constitutional law, which had rolled in silvery cadence from the dark forests of the North to the glittering waters of the Gulf.
He distinctly admitted that the South did ask of the Northern Democracy an advanced step in vindication of Southern rights; and Mr. Yancey's hour and a half closed while he was in the midst of a series of lofty periods, and Mr. Pugh of Ohio sprung to his feet. . . .
Mr. Pugh took the platform in a condition of considerable warmth. There was an effort made to adjourn, but the crowd was eager for the fray, and insisted that Pugh should go on. He did so, thanking God that a bold and honest man from the South had at last spoken, and told the whole truth of the demands of the South. It was now before the Convention and the country, that the South did demand an advanced step from the Democratic party. . . . He then traced the downfall of the Northern Democracy, and the causes of that fall, charging the South with it. And now the Northern Democracy were taunted by the South with weakness. And here, it seemed, the Northern Democracy, because they were in the minority, were thrust back and told in effect they must put their hands on their mouths, and their mouths in the dust. "Gentlemen of the South," said Mr. Pugh, "you mistake us you mistake us- we will not do it."
He spoke of the sacrifice of the Northern Democrats of their political lives, battling for the doctrine of the South, now scornfully repudiated; and pointed out among the delegates, men who had been Senators and Representatives, and who had fallen in the fight. In conclusion, he stated [that] the Democracy, who were prepared to stand by the old faith, would be sorry to part with their Southern friends, but if the gentlemen from the South could only stay on the terms proposed, they must go. The Democracy of the North-west would make itself heard and felt. The Northern Democrats were not children under the pupilage of the South, and to be told to stand here and there, and moved at the beck and bidding of the South. . . .
[April 30.] ... Yesterday there was a report current that the South, discovering the total impossibility of the nomination of Douglas while the Convention remained consolidated, his full strength having been
shown, and amounting to a bare majority, would find some excuse for staying in the Convention even after the adoption of the minority report, and would slaughter Douglas under the two-thirds rule. . . . This morning, however, it became apparent that the Douglas majority was firm, and the South desperate. It was not long before every observer saw that the long-looked for explosion was at hand. The South would not stay in the Convention, even to defeat Douglas, if the double-shuffle platform were adopted. . . .
The minority resolutions were carried as a substitute for the majority resolutions, by a vote of 165 to 138- this 138 is the solid anti-Douglas strength. Now the question came on the adoption of the substituted report - the definite, irrevocable vote of the Convention upon the Douglas Platform, was divided into its substantive propositions. The resolution reaffirming the Cincinnati Platform, believing Democratic principles to be unchangeable in their nature, was first voted upon, and it was carried by 237 to 65. . . . Now the question arose upon the adoption of the Squatter Sovereignty part of the platform — that part wherein it is stated that, "inasmuch as differences of opinion exist in the Democratic party," it will abide by the Supreme Court. . . .
Mr. William A. Richardson of Illinois wished to speak. . . . There were cries of "Hear Richardson." A thrill of excitement passed around the hall, and every body leaned forward or stood up to see and hear the right-hand man of the Little Giant on the crisis. . . . But . . . Mr. Hooper of Mississippi objected peremptorily, and . . . would not let him be heard. .
He had desired to say, that Illinois and the North-west in general, had not been anxious to have any thing but the Cincinnati Platform, and would be content with that, if the others would. This was to have been his peace-offering — his olive-branch. . . . It took some minutes for the new tactics of Richardson to get circulation, and in the mean time, as one delegation after another understood the point, the votes of States were counted, and finally, with a general rush, the only resolution having the slightest significance in the minority report, was stricken out. . . . By a flank movement, they had placed themselves upon the Cincinnati Platform, pure and simple. . . .
And now commenced the regular stampede. Alabama led the Southern column. ... Mississippi went next, with less formality but more vim. . . . Mr. Glenn of Mississippi mounted a chair, and facing the Ohio delegation, which sat directly behind Mississippi, made one of the
most impassioned and thrilling twenty-minute speeches to which I have ever listened. It was evident that every word was from his deepest convictions. He was pale as ashes, and his eyes rolled and glared, as he told the gentlemen from Ohio how far they were from doing their duty now, and how kindly he felt toward them, and how they would have to take position yet upon the high ground of the South, or it would be all in vain that they would attempt to arrest the march of Black Republicanism. For the present, they must go their ways, and the South must go her ways. He declared, too, with piercing emphasis, that in less than sixty days there would be an United South; and at this declaration there was the most enthusiastic shouting yet heard in the Convention. . .
. . . as the spokesman of Mississippi concluded what he had to say, Alexander Mouton of Louisiana, and Col. Simmons of South Carolina . . . were claiming the floor, each to give warning that his State was going. . . .
Florida was the next to go, and then Arkansas.
M[urat] Halstead, Caucuses of 1860: a History of the National Political Conventions of the Current Presidential Campaign (Columbus, 1860), 43-74 passim.
50. Nomination of Lincoln (1860)
BY MURAT HALSTEAD
The convention here described was the first of those conducted on the plan of nomination by enthusiasm. For Halstead, see No. 49 above. - Bibliography: J. F. Rhodes, History of the United States, II, 456–473, notes; Channing and Hart, Guide, § 203.
FTER on Thursday (the second
[May 18, 1860.] Aday), there were few men in Chicago who
believed it possible to prevent the nomination of Seward. . .
But there was much done after midnight and before the Convention assembled on Friday morning. There were hundreds of Pennsylvanians, Indianians and Illinoisans, who never closed their eyes that night. . . .
The Seward men generally abounded in confidence Friday morning. The air was full of rumors of the caucusing the night before, but the opposition of the doubtful States to Seward was an old story; and after the distress of Pennsylvania, Indiana & Co., on the subject of Seward's
availability, had been so freely and ineffectually expressed from the start, it was not imagined their protests would suddenly become effective. The Sewardites marched as usual from their head-quarters at the Richmond House after their magnificent band, which was brilliantly uniformed epaulets shining on their shoulders, and white and scarlet feathers waving from their caps - marched under the orders of recognized leaders, in a style that would have done credit to many volunteer military companies. They were about a thousand strong, and protracting their march a little too far, were not all able to get into the wigwam. This was their first misfortune. They were not where they could scream with the best effect in responding to the mention of the name of William H. Seward.
When the Convention was called to order, breathless attention was given the proceedings. There was not a space a foot square in the wigwam unoccupied. There were tens of thousands still outside, and torrents of men had rushed in at the three broad doors until not another one could squeeze in. . . .
The applause, when Mr. Evarts named Seward, was enthusiastic. When Mr. Judd named Lincoln, the response was prodigious, rising and raging far beyond the Seward shriek. Presently, upon Caleb B. Smith seconding the nomination of Lincoln, the response was absolutely terrific. It now became the Seward men to make another effort, and when Blair of Michigan seconded his nomination,
"At once there rose so wild a yell,
Within that dark and narrow dell;
As all the fiends from heaven that fell
The effect was startling. Hundreds of persons stopped their ears in pain. The shouting was absolutely frantic, shrill and wild. No Camanches, no panthers ever struck a higher note, or gave screams with more infernal intensity. Looking from the stage over the vast amphitheatre, nothing was to be seen below but thousands of hats—a black, mighty swarm of hats - flying with the velocity of hornets over a mass of human heads, most of the mouths of which were open. Above, all around the galleries, hats and handkerchiefs were flying in the tempest together. The wonder of the thing was, that the Seward outside pressure should, so far from New York, be so powerful.
Now the Lincoln men had to try it again, and as Mr. Delano of Ohio, on behalf "of a portion of the delegation of that State," seconded