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PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, 1864.
NATIONAL UNION CONVENTION
BALTIMORE, MD., JUNE 7TH AND 8th, 1864.
D. F. MURPHY,
Of the Official Corps of Reporters for the U. S. Senate.
BAKER & GODWIN, PRINTERS,
NATIONAL UNION CONVENTION.
TUESDAY, JUNE 7TH, 1864. The National Union Convention to nominate Candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States, met this morning in the Front Street Theatre, Baltimore, Md., in response to the following call :
UNION NATIONAL CONVENTION. The undersigned, who by original appointment, or subsequent designation to fill vacancies, constitute the Executive Committee created by the National Convention held at Chicago, on the 16th day of May, 1860, do hereby call upon all qualified voters who desire the unconditional maintenance of the Union, the supremacy of the Constitution, and the complete suppression of the existing rebellion, with the cause thereof, by vigorous war, and all apt and efficient means, to send delegates to a Convention to assemble at Baltimore, on Tuesday, the 7th day of June, 1864, at 12 o'clock noon, for the purpose of presenting candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States. Each State having a representation in Congress will be entitled to as many delegates as shall be equal toʻtwice the number of electors to which such State is entitled in the Electoral College of the United States.
EDWIN D. MORGAN, New York, Chairman,
JOS. GERHARDT, District of Columbia.
A splendid band, from Fort McHenry, animated the crowded theatre with national airs, and the assemblage was graced by the presence of many ladies, who were accommodated in one of the tiers of boxes. Major-Gen. Lew. WALLACE, who is in command of the Department, and Staff, the Hon. John LEE CHAPMAN, Mayor of the City, the First and Second Branches of the City Council, officers of the Army and Navy, and many other distinguished invited guests were spectators of the proceedings. The Delegates and Alternates were afforded facility of entrance by a side door, and the arrangements for their accommodation and for the officers of the Convention reflect credit on those gentlemen to whom that duty had been entrusted. The local press give especial credit to Messrs. WILMOT, MEYER, and Foreman, of the City Council Committee, and Mr. SAMUEL M, Evans, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Convention. The newspaper press was numerously represented and suitably accommodated.
The President's desk was placed on an elevated platform on the stage, which had been enlarged to the extent of the parquette, which was boarded over, thus giving ample room for all the members in the discharge of their duties.
The Hon. Edwin D. MORGAN, of N. Y., Chairman of the National Union Executive Committee, called the Convention to order at the prescribed hour, and spoke as follows:
- Members of the Convention-It is a little more than eight years since it was resolved to form a national party to be conducted upon the principles and policy which had been established and maintained by those illustrious statesmen, GEORGE WASHINGTON and THOMAS JEFFERSON. A.Convention was held in Philadelphia, under the shade of the trees that surrounded the Hall of Independence, and candidates—FREMONT and DAYTON—were chosen to uphold our
But the State of Pennsylvania gave its electoral vote to JAMES BUCHANAN, and the election of 1856 was lost.
Nothing daunted by defeat, it was immediately determined "to fight on this line,” not only “alì summer,” [applause,] but four summers and four win
and in 1860 the party banner was again unfurled, with the names of ABRAHAM LINCOLN (applause] and HANNIBAL HAMLIN inscribed thereon. This time it was successful, but with success came rebellion; and with rebellion of course came war; and war, terrible civil war, has continued with varying success up to nearly the period when it is necessary, under our Constitution, to prepare for another Presidential election. It is for this highly responsible purpose that you are to-day assembled. It is not my duty nor my purpose to indicate any general course of action for this Convention; but I trust I may be permitted to say that, in view of the dread realities of the past, and of what is passing at this moment—and of the fact that the bones of our soldiers lie bleaching in every State of this Union, and with the knowledge of the further fact that this has all been caused by slavery, the party of which you, gentlemen, are the delegated and honored representatives, will fall short of accomplishing its great mission, unless, among its other resolves, it shall declare for such an amendment of the Constitution as will positively prohibit African slavery in the United States. [Prolonged applause, followed by three cheers.]
In behalf of the National Committee, I now propose for temporary President of this Convention, Robert J. Breckinridge, of Kentucky [applause), and appoint Governor Randall, of Wisconsin, and Governor King, of New York, as a committee to conduct the President pro tem to the chair.
The nomination was enthusiastically concurred in :
Dr. BRECKINRIDGE having taken the chair, amidst enthusiastic greetings, three cheers were given for the “ Old War Horse of Kentucky,” and he spoke as follows:
Gentlemen of the Convention-You cannot be more sensible than I am, that the part which I have to perform here to-day is merely a matter of form; and acting upon the principles of my whole life, I was inclined, when the suggestion was made to me from various quarters, that it was in the mind of many membe of the Convention to confer this distinction upon me, to earnestly decline to accept; because I have never sought honors—I have never sought distinction. I have been a working man, and nothing else. But certain considerations led me to change my mind. [Applause.]
There is a class of men in the country, far too small for the good of the country—those men who merely by their example, by their pen, by their voice, try to do good—and all the more in perilous times—without regard to the reward that may come. It was given to many such men to understand, by the distinction conferred upon one of the humblest of their class, that they were men whom the country would cherish, and who would not be forgotten.
There is another motive relative to yourselves and to the country at large. It is good for you, it is good for every nation and every people, every State and every party, to cherish all generous impulses, to follow all noble instincts; and there are none more noble, none more generous than to purge yourselves of all self-seekers and betrayers, and to confer official distinctions, if it be only in mere forms, upon those who are worthy to be trusted, and ask nothing more. [Applause.]
Now, according to my convictions of propriety, having said this, I should say nothing more. [Cries of“ go on.”] But it has been intimated to me from many quarters, and in a way which I cannot disregard, that I should disappoint the wishes of my friends, and perhaps the just expectations of the Convention, if I did not as briefly, and yet as precisely as I could, say somewhat upon the great matters which have brought us here. Therefore, in a very few words, and as plainly as I can, I will endeavor to draw your attention to one and another of these great matters in which we are all engaged.
In the first place, nothing can be more plain than the fact that you are here as the representatives of a great nation-voluntary representatives chosen without forms of law, but as really representing the feelings, the principles, and, if you choose, the prejudices of the American people, as if it were written in laws. and already passed by votes—for the man that you will nominate here for the Presidency of the United States, and ruler of a great people in a great crisis, is just as certain, I suppose, to become that ruler as anything under heaven is certain before it is done. (Prolonged cheering.] And, moreover, you will allow me to say, though perhaps it is hardly strictly proper that I should—but as far as I know your opinions, I suppose it is just as certain now, before you utter it, whose name you will utter, and which will be responded to from one end to the other of this nation, as it will be after it has been uttered and recorded by your Secretary. Does any man doubt that this Convention intends to say that Abraham Lincoln shall be the nominee? [Great applause] What I wish, however, to call your attention to, is the grandeur of the mission upon which you are met, and therefore the dignity and solemnity, earnestness and conscien