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WIGWAM CONVENTION NOMINATION.
IDA M. TARBELL.
[Arranged from "Life of Abraham Lincoln,” published by Doubleday, Page & Co.)
N May 16 the Republican Convention of 1860 opened at
Chicago, then a city with half its buildings on stilts, half of its sidewalks poised high on piles and half still down twelve feet on a level with Lake Michigan. A building called the "Wigwam” had been built especially for the Convention by the Chicago Republican Club. Into this vast structure of pine boards crowded ten thousand persons. In the gallery were packed hundreds of women, gay in high-peaked, flower-filled bonnets and bright shawls and plaids of the day. Below, on the platform and floor, were many notable men of the United States. Nine hundred editors and reporters were present. Hundreds of delegates were to choose a Presidential candidate.
Chicago was in a tumult of expectation. With delegates, professional politicians, newspaper men, and friends of various candidates, came a motley crowd of men, many of them hired to march and cheer for particular candidates. With the New York delegation came two thousand Seward men and the famous Dodworth's Band. Pennsylvania sent fifteen hundred; from New England came many trains of excursionists and Gilmore's Band. Fully onehalf of the members of the United States House of Representatives were in the city. Fifteen railroads, then centering into Chicago, poured in forty thousand strangers. The streets became the forum of this multitude. Processions for Seward, for Cameron, for Chase, for Lincoln, marched and countermarched, brave with banners and transparencies, and noisy with country bands and hissing rockets. Every street corner became a rostrum, where impromptu harangues for any of a dozen candidates might be happened upon.
The Republican Party had in 1860 but one prominent candidate -William H. Seward of New York. By virtue of his great
talents, his superior cultivation, and his splendid services in antislavery agitation, he was the choice of the majority of the Republican Party. But there was a considerable and resolute opposition. Horace Greeley, who urged Bates of Missouri, conducted a campaign against Seward. It was only necessary to say, “There's old Greeley," and all within hearing would group about him, and his talk would end in a speech. Many States had “favorite sons.” Illinois's task was to unite this opposition on Lincoln. Chicago felt that she must stand by her own. Lincoln banners floated across every street; buildings and omnibuses were decorated with Lincoln emblems. When the Illinois delegation saw that New York and Pennsylvania had brought in so many outsiders to create enthusiasm for their respective candidates, they got together ten thousand men from Illinois and Indiana, ready to march, shout, or fight for Lincoln.
Wednesday and Thursday mornings were passed in the usual opening work of a convention. The Illinois delegates were in a frenzy. They ran from delegation to delegation, haranguing, pleading, promising. But do their best, they could not concentrate the opposition. Their great struggle was to prevent Lincoln's nomination for the vice-presidency. The Seward men, recognizing Lincoln as their most formidable rival, were perfectly willing that Lincoln should go on the tail of the ticket, and they overwhelmed the Lincoln men with kindness.
The uncertainty on Thursday was harrowing. If the ballot had been taken on that day, Seward probably would have been nominated. Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania felt this and shrewdly secured adjournment until Friday morning. Thursday night was full of dramatic episodes, of which none was more tragic than the spectacle of Seward's followers. Confident of success, they celebrated in advance the nomination of their favorite. All night the work was kept up. Hundreds of Pennsylvanians, Indianians, and Illinoisans never closed their eyes. No man, who knew Lincoln and believed in him, was allowed to rest but was dragged away to this or that delegate to persuade him that the "rail candidate," as Lin
coln already had begun to be called, was fit for the place.
The night was over at last. The great Wigwam was packed, while, without, for blocks away, a crowd pushed and strained, every nerve alert to catch the movements of the convention. The nominations began. William M. Evarts presented the name of William H. Seward. The New York claque broke forth in a deafening, appalling shout. But Illinois was not caught napping. Its committee had made secret but complete preparations for a "spontaneous demonstration.” From lake front to prairie had been collected every known stentorian voice, and, while Seward's men were marching exultantly about the streets, the owners of these voices had been packed into the Wigwam. The women had been instructed to wave their handkerchiefs, and hundreds of flags had been distributed to be waved, at every mention of Lincoln's
Signals had been arranged to communicate to the thousands without, the moment when a roar from them might influence the convention within. When N. B. Judd nominated Lincoln, this machinery began to work, and it worked well; but, a moment later, when Seward's nomination was seconded, New York outbellowed Illinois. No mortal ever before saw such a scene. Five thousand people at once leaped to their seats, women as well as men, and the wild yell made soft vesper breathings of all that had preceded.
Balloting began. Lincoln received 102 votes, but 234 votes must be had to get the nomination. If Seward was to be beaten, it must be now. The Pennsylvania delegation hurried to a committee-room, returning just in time to answer to the name of Pennsylvania. The whole Wigwam heard the answer—“Pennsylvania casts her fifty-two votes for Abraham Lincoln.” The meaning was clear. The break to Lincoln had begun. New York sat stupefied.
The tension as the third ballot was taken was almost unbearable. A hundred pencils kept score. The last vote was hardly given before the whisper went round: “Two hundred and thirty-one and one-half for Lincoln--only two and one-half more will give him the nomination.” An instant of silence followed. The chairman of the Ohio delegation was the first to get his breath. “Mr. President, I rise to change four votes from Mr. Chase to Mr. Lincoln."
It took a moment to realize the truth. New York saw it, and the white faces of her noble delegation were bowed in despair. Greeley saw it; Thurlow Weed pressed his hand hard against his wet eyelids. Illinois saw it, and tears poured from the eyes of more than one of the overwrought, devoted men as they grasped one another's hands and vainly struggled against the sobs which kept back her shouts. After an instant of silence as deep as death, which seemed to be required to enable the assembly to take in the full force of the announcement, the wildest and mightiest yell burst forth from ten thousand voices. This tremendous demonstration, accompanied with leaping up and down, tossing hats, handkerchiefs and canes recklessly into the air, with waving of flags and with every other conceivable mode of exultant and unbridled joy, lasted ten minutes. It then began to rise and fall in slow and billowing bursts, and for the next five minutes these stupendous waves of uncontrollable excitement, now rising into deepest and fiercest shouts, and then sinking like the ground swell of the ocean into hoarse and lessening murmurs, rolled through the multitude.
Without, the scene was repeated. A cannon boomed the news to the multitude below, and twenty thousand throats took up the cry. The city heard it, and one hundred guns, innumerable whistles on river and lake front, on locomotives and factories, and bells in steeples, broke forth. For twenty-four hours the clamor never ceased. It spread to the prairies, and before morning they were afire with pride and excitement. Everywhere, far and near, was heard the exultant cry,—“Hallelujah, Abe Lincoln is nominated.”
Kind, unpreterading, patient, laborious, brave, wise, great and good, such was Abraham Lincoln,-Theodore Frelinghuysen.
BEHOLD A MARTYR.
HENRY WARD BEECHER.
GREAT leader of the people has passed through toil, sor
row, battle, and war, and come near to the promised land of peace, into which he might not pass over.
Who shall recount our martyr's sufferings for this people! Since November, 1860, his horizon has been black with storms. By day and by night he trod a way of danger and darkness. On his shoulders rested a government dearer to him than his own life. At its integrity millions of men at home were striking; upon it foreign eyes lowered. It stood like a lone island in a sea full of storms; and every tide and wave seemed eager to devour it. Upon thousands of hearts great sorrows and anxieties have rested, but not on one, such, and in such measure, as upon that simple, truthful, noble soul, our faithful and sainted Lincoln. He wrestled ceaselessly, through four black and dreadful purgatorial years, wherein God was cleansing the sins of his people as by fire.
At last the watcher beheld the gray dawn for the country. The mountains began to give forth their forms from out of the darkness; and the East came rushing toward us with arms full of joy for all our sorrows. Then it was for him to be glad exceedingly, that had sorrowed immeasurably. Peace could bring to no other heart such joy, such rest, such honor, such trust, such gratitude. But he looked upon it as Moses looked upon the promised land. Then the wail of a nation proclaimed that he had gone from among us.
Never did two such orbs of experience meet in one hemisphere, as the joy and the sorrow of the same week in this land. The joy of final victory was as sudden as if no man had expected it, and as entrancing as if it had fallen a sphere from heaven. It rose up over sobriety, and swept business from its moorings, and ran down through the land in irresistible course. Men embraced each other in brotherhood that were strangers in the flesh. They sang, or