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June. It numbered nearly 500 delegates, who came from the various loyal states, as well as others from Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The convention was organized by placing ex-governor Dennison, of Ohio, in the chair, determining upon the credentials of delegates, etc. Mr. Raymond, of New York, as chairman of tbe committee on resolutions, reported, the next morning, a series of eleven resolutions, in which were clearly set forth the principles and policy of the Union and Republican party. The first resolution pledged the members and all Union men to support the government to the full in crushing the rebellion; the second applauded the determination of the government not to make any compromise with the rebels, but to prosecute the war with the utmost vigor; the third called for the extirpation of slavery and an amendment to the Constitution to that effect; the fourth gave utterance to words of eulogy upon the patriotism and valor of the soldiers and sailors in the army and navy; the fifth applauded warmly Abraham Lincoln, his policy, his measures, his unselfish patriotism, etc.; the sixth urged the need of harmony in the national councils; the seventh affirmed that the government was bound to protect all those in its service, without regard to distinction of color; the eighth urged the fostering and encouraging of foreign immigration; the ninth advocated the speedy construction of the Pacific Railroad; the tenth declared the necessity of rigid economy and responsibility in regard to public expenditures, of a just system of taxation, etc.; and the elevVol. iv.—m.
en th advocated the "Monroe doctrine" in strong terms, not to allow any foreign interference in the affairs of the Western Continent, etc.
The resolutions were adopted with great unanimity, and Mr. Lincoln was nominated by the vote of all the delegates present, except those from Missouri, who were previously pledged to vote for Gen. Grant. After a brief contest in the convention, Andrew Johnson, military governor of Tennessee, was nominated for vice-president, in place of Hannibal Hamlin, the present incumbent. Mr. Lincoln was informed directly of the result, as was also Mr. Johnson; and both accepted their nominations.* The executive committee of the convention sent Mr. Lincoln a letter announcing the result, and the president, under date of June 27th, replied in a courteous but» characteristic manner, especially thanking the convention because they had not forgotten the soldier and the sailor, who " must and will be forever remembered by the grateful country for whose salvation they devote their lives."
The nomination of Mr. Lincoln for a second term was, on the whole, quite acceptable to the great body of those who supported the government in its course of policy and action. The opposition, however, was active and energetic, and several of the president's acts were discussed with no friendly feeling, and censured in the bitterest terms. Among these was the case of a Cuban named Arguelles, who, at the close of
* For Andrew Johnson's letter of acceptance, and the proceedings of the convention in detail, see Mcpherson's *' History of the Rebellion." pp. 403-409.
1863, had taken up his residence in New York. Early on the morning of May 11th, Argnelles was seized by authority of the president, and secretly placed on board of a steamer which sailed immediately for Havana, to be delivered up to the Spanish authorities as a criminal. Congress directly asked the president for information, and Mr. Seward furnished a report, May 30th, with the documents. According to these it appeared, that Don Jose Augustin Arguelles, an officer in the Spanish army in Cuba, had captured a slave expedition, while he was acting as Lieut. Gov. of the district of Colon, in Cuba. It was subsequently discovered, that he had, with the connivance of the curate of Colon, made representations to the. Spanish government that 141 of therecaptured negroes had died of the small pox, though in fact, he had sold them into slavery, and succeeded in escaping to the United States, where, as above stated, he was arrested and handed over to the Cuban authorities. Arguelles had received some $15,000 as his share of the prize, and had left Cuba on leave of absence for twenty days. There being no extradition treaty between our country and Spain, the Cuban government could take no proceedings before the courts in the matter, and the only question was, whether the president would take the responsibility of arresting Arguelles and sending him back or not. Mr. Lincoln determined to assume the responsibility, and Arguelles was seized and sent off, before an appeal to any of the courts could be made in his behalf. The U. S. Marshal, Robert Mm ray, who effected the arrest,
was indicted by the grand jury of New York for kidnapping Arguelles, and was brought before the court of sessions and held for trial.
This assumption of power on the part of the president, even his admirers admit, was of very doubtful expediency, to say the least, and it afforded the opponents of the administration abundant opportunity of denouncing those who denied the right of asylum, who exceeded the legal powers entrusted to them, who insulted the laws and courts of the land, and who thereby endan-! gered the rights and liberties of the citizen. Mr. Seward excused the action of the president, on the ground that it was done " in virtue of the law! of nations aud the Constitution of the United States," and that "a nation is never bound to furnish asylums to dangerous criminals who are offenders against the human race." This excuse and defence, however, were held to be weak and insufficient, and the government suffered, to no little extent, for its action in this matter.
It had been a subject of complaint, on various occasions, against the present administration, that it was in the habit of exceeding its just prerogatives,' by undue and unlawful interference with the freedom of the press. This was illustrated in the case of proceedings against two of the daily journals j' published in New York City, and the occasion was taken to berate t\x gov- j ernment, in the severest manner, for its tyranny and highhanded usurpation of power. It appears, that an unscrupulous but skilful fellow forged a proclamation under the name of the presi
dent, and timed its delivery at the offices of several New York papers very late in the evening, so that it was put in type, without special examination, and appeared the next morning, May 18th, in the Journal of Commerce and the World. At the time, Grant wa9 engaged in the bloody struggle at Spottsylvania, Sigel had been driven back, and Butler was held in check. The pretended proclamation announced that Grant's campaign was virtually closed, and that "in view of the situation in Virginia, the disaster at Red River, the delay at Charleston, and the general state of the country," the 26th day of May was to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, and a fresh draft was directly to take place of 400,000 men. The malice of this document was plain enough; it was published on the morning when the steamers sailed for Europe; and being telegraphed all over the country, before the forgery was discovered, it produced a wide-spread alarm for several days.
The action of the government was prompt and decisive. Not only was the forgery denounced instantly from Washington, but the two papers above named were seized by government orders and their publication suppressed. The author and abettors of the forged proclamation were ferreted out and sent to Fort Lafayette, and the •Journal of Commerce and the World resumed their issues after a few days, it being evident that they had published the false and malicious paper through inadvertence, and not of evil purpose. As in the Arguelles case, so
now, Mr. Lincoln was sharply censured for daring to interfere with the freedom of the press. The governor of New York—no friend to the administration—ordered the district attorney to take steps at once for prosecuting and punishing all who had been connected with the shutting up the newspaper offices. The matter was brought before a grand jury, which, after due consideration, deemed it best not to interfere, and reported that it was "inexpedient to examine into the subject." Gov. Seymour was not satisfied with this result, and by his direction the matter was taken in hand by the city judge, who issued warrants to arrest Gen. Dix and all the officers who had acted under his orders in the present case. Gen. Dix appeared, and the subject was ably discussed, after which the judge, on the 1st of August, gave his decision that he should hold Dix and the rest concerned for the action of the grand jury of the city and county. No further proceedings, however, were ever taken, and the whole matter rested at this point*
Besides other causes of complaint against the administration, such as the heavy burdens of a protracted war, the slow progress of Grant, and the terrible losses incident on his movements, the" call of the president, in June, for 500,000 men, the depressed state of the currency, financial derangements, etc., all of which were charged directly on President Lincoln and his
* For the forged proclamation in full, tho steps taken by Gov. Seymour in the case, tho arguments of counsel, etc., see Appleton's "American Annual Cyclopaedia" for 1864, pp. 380-393.
policy. There was another affair, which occurred dining th« summer, and which gave the opponenti of the government a capital opening t J cast reproach upon it, and prophesy ruin and disgrace should it continue to rule the country. We refer to the Niagara Falls conference, and its history and results.*
Naturally enough, at this date, a very strong desire found place in the public mind for peace, and with many, h peace on any terms." The great length and the intense severity of the struggle had begun to tell, even upon those who were warm and hearty supporters of the administration, and it required all the nerve and strength of principle of loyal people everywhere, to bear up under the disheartening results thus far, as it seemed, of the prosecution of the war. The notion found more or less ready acceptance, at least it was persistently urged, that the rebellion could never be effectually crushed, as was the purpose of the government, that ere long our resources would be exhausted, and that, as terms of some kind would have to be made with Jeff. Davis and his co-workers, the sooner negotiations were entered upon the better. Rebel emissaries were well aware of all this, and actively engaged
* A similar effort to negotiate as to peace was made by two persons, J. F. Jacques, a colonel in the United States Army, and J. R. Gilmore, who obtained passage through our lines and visited Jeff. Davis at Richmond. They appear to have had a long conversation with the arch-rebel, but, as might be supposed, they were unable to convince him that the way to obtain peace was for him to lay down arms and submit to the law of the laud. The visit of Messrs. Jacques and Gilmore resulted in nothing of any value. See Pollard's bitter remarks on "these two obscure Yankees, who were treated with silly distinction in Richmond."—" Last Year of the War," pp. 66, 67.
in furthering such notions. Davis, in his usual set phrase, kept crying aloud that all he and the rebels wanted was, to be let alone, and to have peace. The declaration was repeated, over and over, in varied form, that they were never guilty of bringing on war, they were not the aggressors, they wished for and loved peace—if the barbarian invaders of the North would only let | them have it!
Under the influence of this longing | desire for peace, if it could only he jl brought about, Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, and a prom inent member of the republican party, put himself in communication with certain rebel agents in Canada, viz., C. C. Clay, J. B. Holcombe, and G. N. Sanders, who professed to have powers from Davis and the rebel government to en- | ter into negotiations looking towards peace. Under date of July 7th, Greeley wrote to the president a very earnest letter on the subject, and asked him to give heed to the matter. He reminded the president "that our bleeding, bankrupt, almost dying country longs for peace—shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions, of further wholesale devastations, and of new rivers of human blood; and a wide-spread conviction that the -government and its prominent supporters are not anxious for peace, and do not improve proffered opportu- i tunities to achieve it, is doing great harm now, and is morally certain, uuless removed, to do greater in the approaching elections." He also sketched a "Plan of Adjustment," and urged an | offer of peace, since it might, he said. "save us from a northern insurrection.'' I Cu. XII.]
Mr. Lincoln, on the 9 th of July, replied, that "any person any where professing to have any proposition of Jeff. Davis, in writing, for peace, embracing the restoration of the Union and abandonment of slavery," should have safe conduct to meet the president, and return also in safety. A number of letters passed to and fro. Greeley thought that duly empowered commissioners were ready to proceed to Washington for a conference, which, however, turned out to be quite a mistake. The rebel agents were only " in the confidential employment of Davis, and entirely familiar with his wishes," etc. This changed the position of matters considerably, and Mr. Lincoln thereupon sent further instructions, by his private secretary, under date of July 18th, headed "To whom it may concern," as follows:—"Any proposition which embraces the restoration of peace, the integrity of the whole Union, and the abandonment of slavery, and which comes by and with an authority that can control the armies now at war against the United States, will be received and considered by the executive government of the United States, and will be met by liberal terms on substantial and collateral points, and the bearer or bearers thereof shall have safe conduct both ways." The rebel agents took great offence at this; it, they said, "provoked as much their indignation as their surprise;" and regretting, with Greeley, "the sad termination of the initiatory steps taken for peace," in consequence, as they alleged, of the president's change of views and bad faith, they haughtily reasserted, that
the rebel authorities and people would never submit, and that they would have peace on their own terms or not at all. Thus, Horace Greeley's well meant, as we think, but not very judicious effort, produced no good result, and Mr. Lincoln and his course were bitterly denounced in consequence. "The effect of this attempt at negotiation, upon the public mind," says H. J. Raymond, "was, for the moment, unfavorable to the Union cause. The people, responding heartily to the demand of the Baltimore platform, that no peace should be accepted by the government on any terms short of an unconditional surrender, were distrustful of negotiations which might look to some other issues. The charge of bad faith urged against the president stimulated the opposition, and, in the absence of facts, embarrassed his supporters; while the fact, that Mr. Lincoln insisted upon the abandonment of slavery as one of the conditions of peace, was cited by the opponents of his administration as proof that the object of the war was changed, and that it was to be waged hereafter, not solely for the preservation of the Union, but for the emancipation of the slaves. In the absence of any opposing candidate, these and countless other charges were urged against the administration with marked effect, and added very materially to the popular despondency which the lack of military success had naturally engendered." *
* Raymond's "Life of Abraham Lincoln," p. 590. Mr. R. gives all the letters, documents, etc. (pp. 571 590), in connection with this matter; and, after a review of Mr. Greeley's course and conduct, and the harm which was done by him, affirms, that "it is due to justice, as well as to Mr. Lincoln, that impressions so
ATTEMPTED PEACE NEGOTIATIONS.