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the issue of a call at once for a National not successful as a presiding officer. nominating convention. The people of He early surrendered the place to one the territories were being murdered for of the vice-presidents. their hostility to slavery extension, and The committee on address not being we must come to their relief by speedy ready to report, the evening session was and decisive action.
given up to speeches, and the convention This thawed the heart of the conven- adjourned to the next day. The tion, and from that moment its future speeches of the evening were all good action was certain. It came to do a and all of the practical kind. Nothing certain work, and was going to do it further was said about following the adboldly and quickly. Giddings was fol- vice from Washington, and every speech lowed by Owen Lovejoy of Illinois. evinced the keenest sympathy with the Lovejoy had opened the convention struggling settlers in Kansas. with prayer, and had prayed very fer- On the twenty-third there was an advently that the Lord would remove the dress from Charles Reemelin of Cincinthen National administration out of the nati. He was earnest in his opposition way and thwart all its designs. There to slavery in the territories, but wanted was, of course, no uncertainty about his the convention to go further and take speech. He was even more radical open ground against Knownothingism. than Giddings, and his frank utterances It was a very strong, able speech, and brought out the most rapturous ap- was very generally approved; but the plause.
convention had but one purpose in view The committee on organization re- and that was to keep slavery out of the ported in favor of Francis P. Blair, sen., territories, and it was unwilling to take of Maryland, for permanent president, a step in any other direction. with the usual list of vice-presidents and The appearance of Mr. Reemelin on secretaries. Mr. Blair was received the stage was an indication of the acceswith much kindness, but his speech was sion of a new element to the Republican after the Greeley pattern and urged side. On the night before the convencaution. He also submitted a long tion met a meeting of naturalized Gerpaper, which was received but not acted mans was held in this city, composed of on, and was a vindication of his posi- men heretofore Democrats, and which tion. He was opposed to the extension appointed two delegates to represent of slavery, but was fearful of some ac- them in the convention. In the subsetion that would meddle with slavery in quent campaign thousands of other the states. As no such action was con- Germans followed, both here and at templated or proposed by anyone, the Cleveland and Cincinnati, and although concern of Mr. Blair lest the convention Mr. Reemelin was grievously disapshould go too far or too fast was with pointed at the refusal of the convention out any warrant. Mr. Blair was a ven- to go beyond the immediate purpose for erable looking old gentleman, but was which it was called, he went actively
into the campaign for Fremont. He of a generation upon what was done at afterwards became a Democrat, but I this gathering, which put a new party fancy it was the liquor question rather into existence that has had an eventful than the American question that carried history since, what was there about it him over.
that left the most lasting impression on The committee on address reported the mind ? I answer for myself that it a call for a National convention to nom- was the deep earnestness and strong inate candidates for the Presidency and determination which actuated every vice-presidency, to be held in Philadel- member of it. There were a few timid phia June 17, 1856. It also reported a brethren at first, and but few, and these National committee of one from each few soon overcame their timidity. The state, together with two or three terse feeling of hostility to the domination of resolutions and an address, all of which the slave power in the politics of the were adopted, and the convention ad- Nation had taken a deep hold on the journed in the midst of a genuine popular mind, and although this domienthusiasm. The resolutions simply nation was powerful enough to coerce assert the power of congress some people in the north to silence, slavery in the territories, and demand this convention had come together for its immediate exercise to prevent the the purpose of forming a grand National slaveholders of Missouri from over- party to prevent the further spread of powering the free state settlers in Kan- slavery, and it did its work faithfully sas. The address, it was stated by a and well. The young men of the presmember of the committee, was not writ- ent day cannot realize how deep and ten by any member of that body, but earnest this feeling was, nor how thorwas adopted unanimously by it. It was oughly the effort to spread slavery into written, in fact, by Henry J. Raymond the National territories had stirred up of the New York Times. Mr. Raymond the conscientious freedom-loving peowas in the city but did not attend the ple of the north. None but those who convention or take any other part in its passed through it can fully comprehend proceedings. The address was a very it. It was the advent of a new political able one, covering completely the gospel, and never, as I think, had any ground occupied by the party on the political party such a soul-stirring misslavery question, but it was very long sion as had the men who began and and did not, probably for that reason, organized and helped to carry out the make a strong impression on the pub. policy marked out by this convention. lic. This concludes the history of the An anecdote about some members of convention, with the exception that a the New York legislature, at the time strong letter was received and read of the anti-Masonic excitement, will from Cassius M. Clay concurring in the serve as an illustration. There were at objects of the convention.
that time but two hotels in Albany at And now, looking back after the lapse which the members stopped, one on the hill near the capitol, and the Dela- to hear them, drinking in great truths van house at the foot of the hill. A as men listening to good news. Never member from the country, a Democrat, were people so keen or so delighted to went to board at the house on the hill, hear and never were men more alive to but afterwards moved to the Delavan the call of duty than were the Republi house. “ How does it come," said one cans of that day. They all, from the of his friends, "that I find you here?" highest to the lowest, "believed in it" "Oh," said he, “I could not stand it heartily, and it was the strength and up there. Too many anti-Masons there, directness of their faith that carried and they are continually drawing their them forward to ultimate victory. hands across their throats, giving the And what of the men who set this ball grand hailing sign of distress, and mak- in motion ? There were not many of ing themselves obnoxious generally." them, but they were gathered from all “But how do you better it down here ? parts of the land. Many were not there Here are Seward and Granger and who should have been ; but the times Spencer, and men of that class, full as were perilous, everything in politics was many as on the hill." “ Ah !" said at sixes and sevens, and the new movethe country gentleman, “but those fel- ment did not look promising. It is not lows up there, they believe in it !” given to all men to know, all at once, That was the difference, and it makes all that the most direct and simple way is the odds in the world when one class ever the best.
They soon did learn it, believes in it and another class, work- however, and as soon as the new moveing with the first, coöperates simply ment was fairly in motion, it drew to for personal purposes, without the faith itself all those who fairly represented the that inspires their co-workers. The active conscience of the Nation. Those one thing that distinguished these men who led the way at this convention simof 1856 was that they all believed in it. ply felt the impulse sooner than those They all had full faith in the righteous who so shortly after followed them. ness of their cause and they were all in- Many of the names I have here enrolled spired by their faith. They were not were never afterwards heard of; but Republicans because their fathers were, their heart was in their work, and like but because there was a great wrong to those who “die in the Lord,” “ their be righted and they had found out the works do follow them." way to right it. They were full of zeal There were many notable men presin what seemed to them a good cause, ent who took but little part, apparently, and they went to work, like the men of but afterwards became prominent. Such 1776, in deep earnest and inspired by a were Oliver P. Morton of Indiana, Williving faith in a broad principle.
liam Dennison, jr., of Ohio, E. D. MorAnd what was true of them was true gan of New York, E. R. Hoar of Massaof all the men who went into that fight. chusetts, and Zachariah Chandler of On the stump, the people came gladly Michigan. These men were just rising into prominence, but were not as well effort seemed to be to show that the known then as afterwards. I cannot Republican movement was directed recall any recollection of the appear- against slavery itself, and not merely ance of Governor Morton at that time, against its spread into the territories. but Dennison, Chandler and Morgan Thaddeus Stevens arose to reply. He were all fine looking, stalwart and pre- was cool and guarded in his ulterances, sentable men. The doorways to the but said something in his usual way that side rooms of Lafayette hall were made seemed to me perfectly inoffensive, yet for a smaller race of men, and I remem- it so stirred up one Crawford of Georber that two of these gentlemen, in pass- gia, an insignificant looking man, that ing through the doorway to a committee he jumped to his feet, danced around room, bumped their heads severely through the aisles on the Democratic against the top of the doorway, al. side in a frenzied way, and finally adthough bareheaded. They were tall, vanced down the central area of the splendidly formed men, and as big men- house as if with intention of making a tally as they looked to be physically. personal assault upon Stevens. No
Lovejoy of Illinois was a preacher, sooner was this movement noticed than and believed, undoubtedly, in the law Lovejoy and three or four others on the of love which he preached; yet he had Republican side, each of whom weighed great faith in the law of force, when over two hundred pounds, stepped down properly applied. He was in deep to the side of Stevens and formed a earnest when he uttered the prayer that semi-circle around him. Whether CrawGod would remove the then existing ford intended personal violence or not, National administration out of the way. I never knew, but the southern men He felt, as many others then did, a deep immediately surrounded him and bore distrust and want of faith in that admin- him back to his place. The attitude of istration, and he had the boldness to Lovejoy and his colleagues indicated speak what he felt. While addressing fight, and the southern men knew it. the convention he seemed to be on fire If Crawford had but laid a hand on with the wrongs of the people of Kansas Stevens, the men who stood by the latand to be, in reality, a new saint drum- ter meant all that their attitude foreming up recruits for a new crusade. shadowed. This shows what was in The congress elected in 1858 was anti- Lovejoy. He did not seek a collision ; Nebraska, but neither the Democrats but he was always ready for one if it nor Republicans had an absolute major- was precipitated. He was a man of acity. When it assembled in December, tion rather than of words. 1859, after two ineffectual ballots for Of Giddings I need not speak. He speaker the first day, the southern mem- was a bold, outspoken man, who hated bers broke out into impassioned speeches all that looked like indecision. of denunciation of the Republicans. the sturdy hostility of such men as Gid. Keitt of South Carolina led off, and his dings to the double-facedness that char
acterized many of the public men of it? That was the burden of Reemelin's that day that challenged public admira- speech. He could not see that Knowtion. He was a member, also, of the nothingism was even then virtually nominating convention at Philadelphia, dead. Perhaps it was not natural that in that same year, and he was very de- he should be expected to see it, and it cidedly opposed to the nomination of had such terrors to him that he paused Fremont. He was in favor of some one before joining in forming a party that more thoroughly identified with the Re- did not make hostility to such a propublican movement than Fremont had scriptive thing as the Americanism of been.
that day a radical part of its creed. He Two other men drew my attention plead with much earnestness and with particularly. They were Philip Dors- true eloquence for the right of every heimer of Buffalo and Charles Reemelin man, black and white, foreign and naof Cincinnati. Dorsheimer was not a tive, to political freedom, and thought talker, but he was one of those mag- an outspoken denunciation of the pronetic men who draw all men unto them, scription of foreigners would come with and it was his lead that brought so great force from a party planting itself many of the Germans in New York into upon the platform of free soil, free the Republican movement. He was to speech and free men. The men who them like a father to his children, and made the new party, however, had no they followed him with an earnestness fear of the American party. They knew that words cannot express. Reemelin, it was then in the throes of death, and on the other hand, was a talker, and a having been called to the performance most effective one. After a lapse of of a great duty, thought it best to conthirty-two years his speech at that con- fine themselves to the one great danger vention comes back to me almost as that confronted them. Reemelin was fresh as in its first delivery. The pro- greatly disappointed, and he made his gressive Germans were drawn to the disappointment visible ; but he subRepublican movement as to one they mitted and found afterwards that his had been longing for. They had previ- fears were without any real foundation. ously acted with the Democratic party,
Of the other men that took part, as but were not satisfied with its conserva- well as those I have mentioned, nearly tism and were looking for a party in all have passed away. But few now which they would feel more at home. remain on the scene of present action, The party then in process of formation and those who are dead carried with struck them favorably, but they were them into the eternal world a consciousscared just then by the Knownothing ness that they had but done their duty movement. It had been successful in in the part taken by them in forming 1854 and had been formidable in 1855; the Republican party in 1856. would this new Republican organization
RUSSELL ERRETT. take an open and decided stand against