Page images
PDF
EPUB

of Mr. Long and Mr. Curtis were understood to be especially opposed to Mr. Blaine. The speech of Governor Long was an especially elegant production. That of Mr. Curtis was noticeable for its literary quality.

Governor Long said of Senator Edmunds: “Calumny dare not assail him; or if is dared, recoils as from a galvanic shock. Against no other candidate can less be said than against him. For no other candidate can more be said.

“I stand here, Mr. President, honored, though it were alone, with the duty of presenting his name to this Convention. But it is not I, it is not the State nor the delegates whom I here represent, who present that name to you. It is presented by uncounted numbers of our fellow-citizens, good men and true, all over this land, who only await this nomination to spring to the swift, hearty work of his election. It is presented by an intelligent press from Maine to California, representing a healthy public sentiment and an advanced public demand. It is the name of one whose letter of acceptance as an unsolicited honor, will constitute all the machinery he will have put into its procurement. It is the name which in itself is a guarantee of inflexible honesty in government, and of the best and wisest Cabinet the country can afford, with no man in it greater than its head. It is a guarantee of appointment to office, fit, clean, and disinterested all the way through; a guarantee of an administration which I believe, and which in your hearts you know, will realize, not only at home but abroad, the very highest conceptions of American citizenship.

“It is the name, too, which will carry over all the land a grateful feeling of serenity and security, like the benignant promise of a perfect day in June. It will be as wholesome and refreshing as the Green Mountains of the native State of him who bears it. Their summits tower not higher than his worth; their foundations are not firmer than his convictions and truth; the green and prolific slopes that grow great harvests at their feet are not richer than the fruitage of his long and lofty labors in the service of his country. Honest and capable, unexceptionable and fit, the best and the most available, the very staunchest of the old Republican guard, the most unflinching of American patriots, with the kindly heart of a courteous gentleman, as well as the robust, rugged mind of a great statesman, yet is he not more sternly just in the halls of Congress than tender in that sanctuary of the American heart, the American home.

“A man of no class, no caste, no pretense, but a man of the people, East, West, North, South, because a representative of their homeliest, plainest and best characteristics. Massachusetts, enthusiastically leaping her own borders, commends and nominates him, to this great Republican Convention, as the man it seeks, as the man of its instinctive and hearty choice, as the one man whom its constituents everywhere will hail with an unbroken shout, not only of satisfaction, but of relief.

"Gentlemen, I nominate, as the Republican candidate for the next President of the United States, the Honorable—aye! the Honorable George F. Edmunds, of Vermont.”

Mr. George William Curtis, of New York—“Mr. President and Gentlemen: I shall not repeat to you the splendid story of the Republican party; a story that we never tire of telling; that our children will never tire of hearing; a story which is written upon the heart of every American citizen, because it recounts greater services for liberty, for the country, for mankind, than those of any party in any other nation, at any other period of time.

"And what is the secret of this unparalleled history? It is simply that the Republican party has been always the party of the best instincts, of the highest desires of the American people. This is its special glory. It has represented the American instinct of nationality, American patriotism, and American devotion to liberty.

“Fellow Republicans, we have learned, and many of you whom our hearts salute, have learned upon fields more peaceful than this, that our foe is not a foe to be despised. He will feel our lines to find our weakest point. He will search the work of this Convention with electric light. He will try us by our candidate. And, therefore, the man to whom we commit the bannerthe banner that Abraham Lincoln bore-must be, like Abraham Lincoln, a knight indeed; and like the old knight, a ‘knight without fear and without reproach.' He must be a statesman, identified with every measure of the great Republican past, a pioneer in every measure of its future of reform; and in himself the pledge that the party will not only put its face forward, but will set its foot forward; and a pledge, also, that that mighty foot will trample and crush and utterly destroy whatever disgraces the public services, whatever defiles the Republican name, whatever defeats the just expectation of the country and of the Republican party."

The speech of Mr. Curtis was the last before the balloting began, but there was some discussion over contested delegates. The count from New York, in a contest over a rule which was artfully initiated, excited some interest. The vote of New York was declared by Mr. Curtis to be 29 aye, 43 no. Mr. Lawson questioned the correctness of the vote, and there was a roll call. The first name of the ayes was Anson McCook, and the second was W. H. Tobertson. The ayes were not twenty-nine, but twenty-eight. The first no was Theodore Roosevelt, the second Andrew White. Then came Curtis and Kind and Dutcher, Lawson, Odell, Hamilton Fish, Jr., and others, fortyfour in number; so the vote of New York was corrected from twenty-nine ayes and forty-three noes, to twenty-eight ayes and forty-four noes-a contest showing how keen was observation, and how intense the friction and fight for a single vote on a question of no material consequence.

The vote on the roll call was close, ayes, 391; noes, 410; majority against, 19. There was a motion that the Convention adjourn until the following morning. It was ruled that the order of business was a ballot. The confusion was great. A question arose whether a call for the previous question was sustained. Mr. Roosevelt said it had been seconded by New York. The demand to have the roll of States called was carried, and the President ordered the call. When it had proceeded to Illinois, there was an inquiry as to what question there was that the roll was being called about, and the President said it was to take a recess until eleven o'clock the next day. Several delegates said “To-day.” The President remarked “To-day; Yes, it is after twelve o'clock now.” There were motions to adjourn, cries that nothing could be heard, when Mr. McKinley, of Ohio, said: “I move to dispense with the call of the States. I understand the gentlemen all around us are willing that the motion to adjourn until eleven o'clock this morning shall prevail; and in that spirit I make that motion.”

Mr. Burleigh_“I accept the amendment."

Mr. McKinley—“I make the motion that we suspend further call of the States, and take a vote viva voce to adjourn until eleven o'clock.”

The Convention adjourned at 1:45 A. M. Friday, June the 6th, to eleven o'clock the same day.

The first thing the next Convention day was balloting for President, and as always, the State of Alabama was first. Her vote was: 1 for James G. Blaine, 1 for John A. Logan, and 17 for Arthur. Arkansas came next, and the applause that followed the names was so extraordinary that the clerks could not hear the vote to record it. There was necessary to a choice 411, Blaine had 33442; Arthur, 278; Edmunds, 93; John Sherman, 30, and William 1. Sherman, 2. The two votes for General Sherman were given pursuant to an understanding that had a calculation in it. Mr. Blaine had communicated to several delegates and some other persons on the floor, among them the author of this book, that he did not desire the nomination, did not believe he ought to be nominated, because he did not think he could be elected, specified he couldn't be elected without New York, and, in his opinion, could not carry that State, and that the Convention could name a ticket that would be elected without doubt. His language was: “Nominate William Tecumseh Sherman for President, and Robert Todd Lincoln for Vice-President, and they will be elected by the singing of a song."

General Sherman was understood generally to be, under all circumstances, opposed to becoming a candidate for the Presidency; but the President of the Convention, Mr. Henderson, of Missouri (General Sherman at the time lived

in St. Louis, because as a General of the army he wanted to keep away from the War Department)-Mr. Henderson was of a different opinion. He thought General Sherman could have the matter put to him by the Convention in such a way that he would be obliged to feel that it was his duty to accept the Presidency, if he was elected, and that nothing more was wanted. One difficulty, however, it was impossible to overcome: General Sherman would certainly not consent to be used in the Convention in opposition to his brother, Senator John Sherman, who was a prominent candidate. On the first ballot John Sherman had thirty votes; and it was expected that Mr. Long, of Massachusetts, would, in order to rally the majority of the Convention against Blaine, cast the solid vote of Massachusetts on the second ballot for John Sherman. But Massachusetts did not find the time to cast her solid vote. There was a question much debated quietly throughout the Convention, whether the Edmunds men would go for General Sherman, if not for John Sherman, and be leading the way in so radical a course, to meet the views of Mr. Blaine by defeating him, and, at the same time, nominating his candidate. But there were a number of influences at work that made this plan impracticable; and the Edmunds men, it was presently ascertained, could not be united upon anybody else, and this reduced the force of any strategic proposals that included them.

In the third ballot Edmunds' vote declined from 85 to 69. William T. Sherman gained a vote, having received two from Michigan and one from Missouri. Robert T. Lincoln had four votes, one from Kentucky, two from New Hampshire, and one from New York. Mr. Carr, of Illinois, rose to a point of order, when Mr. Roosevelt said of the call of States: “North Carolina seconds it. New York, North Carolina, and Mississippi.” The clerk the second time called Alabama. Mr. Spooner, of New York, rose to a point of order, that the roll was on a motion to adjourn, and that the call of the roll should be ordered by the Chair. Mr. Huested, of New York, shouted to the President, “Fair play here, sir.” The President called the house to order. Mr. Huested, of New York, rose to a point of order, that the demand was not made until after the Chair had decided the motion, and here in the record we find the names of Roosevelt and McKinley together as follows:

“Mr. Roosevelt-I made the motion.

“Mr. McKinley, of Ohio—Gentlemen of the Convention: I hope no friend of James G. Blaine will object to having the roll call of the States made. Let us raise no technical objection; I care not when the question was raised. The gentlemen representing the different States here have a right to the voice of this Convention upon this subject, and, as a friend of James G. Blaine, I insist that all his friends shall unite in having the roll of States called, and then vote that proposition down.”

The question was on adjournment. Roosevelt, White and Curtis voted for it; McCook, Robertson, Huested and Platt, against it. New York gave 42 ayes to 29 noes on the adjournment question. The vote indicated the supremacy of the Blaine influence, which was opposed to adjourning. There were 364 aye to 450 no. Judge Foraker moved the nomination of Blaine by acclamation. There were cries of "NO.” Roosevelt called for the roll. A member from Wisconsin called for order. Foraker called “Mr. President,” and the President gave him the floor. He made the motion that the rules be suspended and Blaine nominated by acclamation.

“Mr. Roosevelt-I ask that the roll be called. "Mr. Burrows, of Michigan-Mr. President: I demand a call of the roll. "Mr. Roosevelt-On behalf of New York I demand a call of the roll.

"Mr. Burrows—I demand a call of the roll. I hope my friend from Ohio will withdraw his motion to declare the nomination by acclamation and proceed to a ballot. (Cries of 'Withdraw, withdraw.)

"Mr. Foraker-In order that the time of this Convention may be saved, and at the request of several members, I withdraw the motion I made.”

In the ballot there were thirty New York votes for Arthur, twenty-nine for Blaine, nine for Edmunds, one for Hawley, and one for Lincoln, Mr. Roosevelt voting for Edmunds. Foraker said that he presented, for what he supposed to be the best interests of the party, to the Convention the name of John Sherman, and had faithfully and most cordially supported him; but now in the interests of the party, withdrew him, and cast for Blaine the fortysix votes of his State. It required 411 votes to nominate; Mr. Blaine received 541. President Arthur sent to Mr. Blaine the following dispatch:

"To the Hon. James G. Blaine, Augusta, Me. As the candidate of the Republican party, you will have my earnest and cordial support.

"CHESTER A. ARTHUR.” The nomination of Blaine was made unanimous. The Convention took a recess until the evening. The special business of the evening session was the nomination for Vice President of John A. Logan, who received 773 votes.

Mr. Lampson, of Ohio, spoke of the large majority Ohio would give to Blaine, of Maine, and to the grand old soldier Logan.

"Mr. Spooner, of New York-I have a resolution which I desire to offer.

"Mr. McKinley, of Ohio-Following the usual order of National Conventions, I move you that a committee be appointed to advise the nominees of this Convention of its action.

"Mr. Roots, of Arkansas—I second the motion.

"Mr. McKinley-of which the President of this convention shall be Chairman.”

« PreviousContinue »