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the nomination of Lincoln, the uproar was beyond description. . . . I thought the Seward yell could not be surpassed; but the Lincoln boys. were clearly ahead, and feeling their victory, as there was a lull in the storm, took deep breaths all round, and gave a concentrated shriek that was positively awful, and accompanied it with stamping that made every plank and pillar in the building quiver. . . .

. . . The division of the first vote caused a fall in Seward stock. It was seen that Lincoln, Cameron and Bates had the strength to defeat Seward, and it was known that the greater part of the Chase vote would go for Lincoln. . . .


The Convention proceeded to a second ballot. . . . The first gain for Lincoln was in New Hampshire. The Chase and the Fremont vote from that State were given him. His next gain was the whole vote of Vermont. This was a blighting blow upon the Seward interest. The New Yorkers started as if an Orsini bomb had exploded. And presently the Cameron vote of Pennsylvania was thrown for Lincoln, increasing his strength forty-four votes. The fate of the day was now determined. New York saw "checkmate" next move, and sullenly proceeded with the game, assuming unconsciousness of her inevitable doom. On this ballot Lincoln gained seventy-nine votes ! Seward had 184 votes; Lincoln, 181. . .

While this [the third] ballot was taken amid excitement that tested the nerves, the fatal defection from Seward in New England still further appeared four votes going over from Seward to Lincoln in Massachusetts. The latter received four additional votes from Pennsylvania and fifteen additional votes from Ohio. . . . The number of votes necessary to a choice were two hundred and thirty-three, and I saw under my pencil, as the Lincoln column was completed, the figures 231 - one vote and a half to give him the nomination. In a moment the fact was whispered about. A hundred pencils had told the same story. The news went over the house wonderfully, and there was a pause. There are always men anxious to distinguish themselves on such occasions. There is nothing that politicians like better than a crisis. I looked up to see who would be the man to give the decisive vote. . . . In about ten ticks of a watch, Cartter of Ohio was up. I had imagined Ohio would be slippery enough for the crisis. And sure enough! Every eye was on Cartter, and every body who understood the matter at all, knew what he was about to do. . . . He said, "I rise (eh), Mr. Chairman (eh), to announce the change of four votes of Ohio from Mr.

Chase to Mr. Lincoln." The deed was done. There was a moment's silence. The nerves of the thousands, which through the hours of suspense had been subjected to terrible tension, relaxed, and as deep breaths of relief were taken, there was a noise in the wigwam like the rush of a great wind, in the van of a storm-and in another breath, the storm was there. There were thousands cheering with the energy of insanity.

A man who had been on the roof, and was engaged in communicating the results of the ballotings to the mighty mass of outsiders, now demanded by gestures at the sky-light over the stage, to know what had happened. One of the secretaries, with a tally sheet in his hands, shouted" Fire the salute! Abe Lincoln is nominated!" As the cheering inside the wigwam subsided, we could hear that outside, where the news of the nomination had just been announced. And the roar, like the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep, that was heard, gave a new impulse to the enthusiasm inside. Then the thunder of the salute rose above the din, and the shouting was repeated with such tremendous fury that some discharges of the cannon were absolutely not heard by those on the stage. Puffs of smoke, drifting by the open doors, and the smell of gunpowder, told what was going on.

The moment that half a dozen men who were on their chairs making motions at the President could be heard, they changed the votes of their States to Mr. Lincoln. . . .

While these votes were being given, the applause continued, and a photograph of Abe Lincoln which had hung in one of the side rooms was brought in, and held up before the surging and screaming masses. The places of the various delegations were indicated by staffs, to which were attached the names of the States, printed in large black letters on pasteboard. As the Lincoln enthusiasm increased, delegates tore these standards of the States from their places and swung them about their heads. A rush was made to get the New York standard and swing it with the rest, but the New Yorkers would not allow it to be moved, and were wrathful at the suggestion.

When the vote was declared, Mr. Evarts, the New York spokesman, mounted the Secretaries' table and handsomely and impressively expressed his grief at the failure of the Convention to nominate Seward -and in melancholy tones, moved that the nomination be made unanimous.


. . . The town was full of the news of Lincoln's nomination, and

could hardly contain itself. . . . hundreds of men who had been in the wigwam were so prostrated by the excitement they had endured, and their exertions in shrieking for Seward or Lincoln, that they were hardly able to walk to their hotels. There were men who had not tasted liquor, who staggered about like drunkards, unable to manage themselves. The Seward men were terribly stricken down. They were mortified beyond all expression, and walked thoughtfully and silently away from the slaughter-house, more ashamed than embittered. They acquiesced in the nomination, but did not pretend to be pleased with it; and the tone of their conversations, as to the prospect of electing the candidate, was not hopeful. It was their funeral, and they would not make merry.

I left the city on the night train on the Fort Wayne and Chicago road. The train consisted of eleven cars, every seat full and people standing in the aisles and corners. At every station where there was a village, until after two o'clock, there were tar barrels burning, drums beating, boys carrying rails; and guns, great and small, banging away. The weary passengers were allowed no rest, but plagued by the thundering jar of cannon, the clamor of drums, the glare of bonfires, and the whooping of the boys, who were delighted with the idea of a candidate for the Presidency, who thirty years ago split rails on the Sangamon River— classic stream now and for evermore and whose neighbors named him "honest."



M[urat] Halstead, Caucuses of 1860: a History of the National Political Conventions of the Current Presidential Campaign (Columbus, 1860), 141-154 passim.

51. Threats of Secession (1860)


The Charleston Mercury, edited by R. B. Rhett, had for a long time held advanced views on the question of secession, but the communication here given is one of many indications that public opinion in South Carolina was rapidly approaching the position taken by that paper. This is a good example of the southern journalism of the time. — Bibliography: Channing and Hart, Guide, § 205.


HAT the time has come for the South to look to her interests, when considered in connection with the great political strife now existing between the two sections of this country, I think no true Southerner, who loves liberty and hates oppression, will attempt to

deny. If there are any who think that the time has not yet arrived "when patience ceases to be a virtue," and when we, as a free people, should not cry out against the insults and impositions of the North, and declare our independence to the world, they must indeed have charitable and forgiving souls. Isn't it enough that the rights of the South, in the sovereign capacity of her several States, have been most persistently denied her for forty years? Have we not, as a section, been insulted and oppressed, not only at home, but in every Foreign Court in Christendom, by abolition fanatics, who should, as citizens of the same Government, regard us as brothers? The leaders and oracles of the most powerful party in the United States have denounced us as tyrants and unprincipled heathens, through the whole civilized world. They have preached it from their pulpits. They have declared it in the halls of Congress and in their newspapers. In their school-houses they have taught their children (who are to rule this Government in the next generation) to look upon the slaveholder as the especial disciple of the devil himself. They have published books and pamphlets in which the institution of slavery is held up to the world as a blot and a stain upon the escutcheon of America's honor as a nation. They have established Abolition Societies among them for the purpose of raising funds-first to send troops to Kansas to cut the throats of all the slaveholders there, and now to send emissaries among us to incite our slaves to rebellion against the authority of their masters, and thereby endanger the lives of our people and the destruction of our property. They have brought forth an open and avowed enemy to the most cherished and important institution of the South, as candidate for election to the Chief Magistracy of this Government - the very basis of whose political principles is an uncompromising hostility to the institution of slavery under all circumstances. They have virtually repealed the Fugitive Slave Law, and declare their determination not to abide by the decision of the Supreme Court, guaranteeing to us the right to claim our property wherever found in the United States. And, in every conceivable way, the whole Northern people, as a mass, have shown a most implacable hostility to us and our most sacred rights; and this, too, without the slightest provocation on the part of the South. Never, in a single instance, has the South, in any shape or form, interfered with the North in her municipal regulations; but, on the contrary, has tamely submitted to paying tribute to the support of her manufactures, and the establishment of her commercial greatness; yet, like the " serpent warmed in the husbandman's

bosom," she turns upon us and stings us to the heart. If Great Britain, or any foreign power, had heaped upon us the long catalogue of insult and abuses that the North has, there is not a man in the whole South who would not have long since shouldered his musket, and, if necessary, spilt his heart's blood to have avenged them. But because we are members of the same political family it is contended we must not quarrel, but suffer all the impositions at their hands that in their fanatical spleen they may choose to heap on us. Has a man's own brother, born of the same parents, a right to invade the sacred precincts of his fireside, to wage war upon him and his family, and deprive him of his property? And if he should do so, the aggrieved brother has not only a right, but it is his duty, sanctioned by every principle of right, to cut off all communication with that unnatural brother, to drive him from the sanctuary of his threshold, and treat him as an enemy and a stranger. Then why should we any longer submit to the galling yoke of our tyrant brother — the usurping, domineering, abolition North!

The political policy of the South demands that we should not hesitate, but rise up with a single voice and proclaim to the world that we will be subservient to the North no longer, but that we will be a free and an independent people. Here, then, would be an end to all political dissensions among us, because our interests, feelings, institutions, wants and pursuits, would be identical. Manufactures would be encouraged at home, our commercial interests enhanced, and our national importance established. Our towns would grow into cities, and our cities soon grow to be respected among the great commercial emporiums of the world. We should then have a national right to demand respect from the North, and the restoration of our property when it is abducted by them, or escapes into their territory. And we should no longer be compelled to pay tribute to the support of a corrupt predominant power, whose boasted principles are based upon an opposition to our interests.

All admit that an ultimate dissolution of the Union is inevitable, and we believe the crisis is not far off. Then let it come now; the better for the South that it should be to-day; she cannot afford to wait. With the North it is different. Every day adds to her sectional strength, and every day the balance of power becomes less proportionate between the two sections. In a few more years (unless this course is speedily adopted by us) there will not be an inch of territorial ground for the Southern emigrant to place his foot on. Our doom will be sealed; the decree shall have gone forth; "Thus far shalt thou go and no farther."


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