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“Ohio has uttered no menace of disunion when the Ameri can people have seen fit to intrust the powers of the Federal Government to citizens of other political views than those of a majority of her citizens. No threats of disunion in a similar contingency by citizens of other States will excite in her any sentiments save those of sorrow and reprobation. They will not move her from her course. She will neither dissolve the Union herself, nor consent to its dissolution by others. Faithful to the covenant of the ordinance, she will resist the extension of slavery; confirmed in the principles of the Constitution, she will oppose its nationalization. True to the faith in which her youth was nurtured, and calm in the consciousness of her matured strength, she will abide in the Union, and, under the Constitution, maintain liberty.
“Let us hope that good counsel may yet prevail; that differences may be composed by a return to the faith of the fathers and to the original policy of the republic; and that our whole country, thus relieved from existing causes of dissension, may once more present to the admiration of the world the spectacle of a great and prosperous community of united States, protected in their industry and defended in their rights by the equal laws and impartial administration of State and Federal Governments. To this end, at least, no effort of ours will be wanting.”
On the 2d of February, 1860, Mr. Chase was reëlected to the Senate of the United States; the people of Ohio thus, for the third time since his first election, in 1849, and by decisive votes, indorsing all his public career. His election was the spontaneous work of the Republican party, and was unsought by any act of Mr. Chase, and was thoroughly gratifying to the Republicans throughout the country. Out of one hundred and thirty-five votes cast in joint convention of the Legislature, Mr. Chase received seventy-six.
PRESIDENTIAL CANVAss of 1856, AND IN 1860—WANT OF INFLUENCE OF OHIO DELEGATION IN CHICAGO CONVENTION - EleoTION OF MOR. LINCOLN-WITHDRAWAL OF SOUTH CAROLINA FROM THE UNION-LETTER OF Mr. CHASE TO RANDALI, HUNT —GOES TO SPRINGFIELD BY INVITATION OF MR. LINOOLN–INTERVIEWS WITH MR. LINCOLN–CONDITIONAL OFFER OF TREASURY DEPARTMENT—LETTER TO GOVERNOR SEWARD-PEACE CONFERENCE CALLED BY LEGISLATURE OF VIRGINLA-MR. CHASE ATTENDS AS A DELEGATE FROM OHIO-SPEECH IN THE CONFERENCE—THE CONFERENCE A FAILURE–APPOINTMENT As 8ECRETARY OF THE TREASURY-RESIGNS HIS SENATORSHIP.
M*. Y Republicans throughout the country were earnestly in favor of the nomination of Mr. Chase for the presidency so early as 1856. But slavery-conservatism was at that time yet predominant in the party, and the party itself was not dominant in the nation, nor was it likely to become so except by judicious concessions both as to candidates and platform. The nomination of a statesman of the avowed convictions and character of Mr. Chase, was forbidden upon every principle of party expediency, and although some leading men thought it would be better to do otherwise, the Philadelphia Convention of 1856 presented to the country the name of Colonel John C. Fremont. The alliteration of “Free speech, free men, and Fremont,” it was believed would be weightier with the mass of the voters of the country than any guarantee of practical ability, superiority of character, and long public experience. No doubt the convention was right. But if the convention did not present the name of a known capable statesman as the standard-bearer of the party, or that of a citizen strongly identified with the advocacy of its fundamental ideas, it made some measure of compensation for this important neglect, by the boldness of its avowals upon the paramount question before the country. It declared, as the basis of its action, unequivocal hostility to slavery and slavery-extension. It resolved, “That, with our republican fathers, we hold it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government were, to secure these rights to all persons within its exclusive jurisdiction; and that, as our republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing slavery in any territory of the United States, by positive legislation prohibiting its existence therein; that we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial Legislature, of any individual or association of individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any Territory of the United States, while the present Constitution shall be maintained;” and “that the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign power over the Territories of the United States for their government; and that in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the duty of Congress to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism — polygamy and slavery.” The Democratic party of 1856, “claiming fellowship with and desiring the coöperation of all who regard the preservation of the Union under the Constitution as the paramount issue, and repudiating all sectional parties and platforms concerning domestic slavery,” recognized and adopted the principles embodied in the organic laws establishing the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, “as embodying the only sound and safe solution of the slavery question, upon which the great national idea of the people of this whole country can repose in its determined conservation of the Union, and non-interference with slavery in the Territories or the District of Columbia.”
THE PRESIDENCY IN 1886 AND 1860. 197
The “American party” interjected a candidate and platform into the canvass; but with no expectation of success. Although Mr. Chase had another preference, he supported Colonel Fremont cordially and effectively. Ohio gave a splendid majority for the national Republican ticket; but the result of the election showed the continued great vitality of the Democratic party. Mr. Buchanan received a total of 1,838,169 votes, Colonel Fremont 1,341,264, and Mr. Fillmore 874,534. Of the electoral votes Mr. Buchanan had 174; a clear majority of 60. During the four years immediately following upon the election of Mr. Buchanan the name of Mr. Chase grew more familiar to the people of the country, and as the time drew near for the nomination of a Republican candidate in 1860, attracted a wide attention, and his supporters were to be found in every congressional district in the free States, and he was not without friends even in some slave districts. The steady and excellent course of his administration in Ohio was warmly admired by the Republicans, and had extorted praise even from political enemies. The position of the Republican party, however, was not materially changed from what it had been in 1856; it did not command a majority of the voters of the country, and indeed had made no decisive accessions of strength since its first attempt in the presidential field. Conservatism still held sway in its councils; and the success of the party in 1860 as in 1856 depended, therefore, upon a judicious selection of candidates and a defensible platform; but more than either upon divisions in the camps of its enemies. These divisions happened, and are too essentially a part of the history of the war of the rebellion to need recapitulation here. The Republican State Convention of Ohio, called to elect senatorial delegates to the National Convention to be held in Chicago in May, was held in March, 1860, and declared the preference of the Republicans of the State for the nomination of Governor Chase. This expression of preference was an entirely deliberate proceeding, having been made upon a call and vote of the counties separately; the vote standing, for such expression three hundred and eighty-five, and against it sixty-nine. But the Convention chose only four delegates at large, or senatorial delegates so called; the congressional delegates being chosen by conventions held in the several Congress districts. By this arrangement opportunity was given for the friends of other candidates to excite divisions, and to secure in some of the districts delegates unfriendly to Mr. Chase. When the Chicago Convention met, the disagreement of the Ohio delegation was utterly destructive of its influence. Without its united action, there was little ground to expect for Mr. Chase the support of delegations from other States; and in any event his nomination was perhaps unlikely, but he bad numerous friends in the convention who, had the Ohio delegation shown a compact front, would have united to secure his nomination. But union was impossible. Mr. Chase received a respectable support, notwithstanding: on the first ballot forty-nine votes, on the second forty-two and a half, and on the third twenty-four and a half. The nomination of Mr. Lincoln was entirely satisfactory to Mr. Chase; and in the bitter and protracted canvass which followed, he took an active and important part. Although preceding the election, none doubted that Mr. Lincoln would be chosen, the event itself was followed by a vast increasein the excitement and agitation already prevailing throughout the country. In the South the people proceeded to prompt action, with a view to immediate disunion. South Carolina led the way. “No sooner,” says Mr. Pollard in his history of “The Lost Cause,” “had the telegraph announced the election of Abraham Lincoln’ President of the United States, than the State of South Carolina prepared for a deliberate withdrawal from the Union. Considering the argument as fully exhausted, she determined to resume the exercise of her rights as a sovereign State; and for this purpose her Legislature called a convention. The convention assembled in Columbia on the 17th of December, 1860. Its sessions were held in a church, over which floated a flag bearing the device of a palmetto-tree, with an open Bible at its trunk, with the inscription: “God is our refuge and
* Before the war presidential electors of South Carolina were chosen by the Legislature of the State, on the same day in which presidential electors were elected by the people in the other States. The Legislature remained in session in 1860 after meeting for this purpose, and passed resolutions calling a secession convention— passed in the Senate on the 9th of November and in the House on the 12th.