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The Baltimore Convention.


May/June 1860

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, May 11, 1860.


BALTIMORE, May 9.—The proceedings of the Convention have thus far been harmonious. The Houston men desired a ballot to-night. They are more numerous than the supporters of any other candidate. Mr. Bell is second. The contest between them is animated. Mr. McLean will have some votes, but all idea of nominating him, or any one else with reference to the Chicago Convention, is dropped.

Two-thirds of the New York delegation are for Mr. Houston. They are for Mr. Everett for Vice President. The Pennsylvania delegation is divided between Bell and Houston. So is the South generally: Kentucky being unanimous for Houston. It is predicted that he will be nominated at an early stage of the balloting. Nobody is for Botts. The attempt to bring him forward, failed.

10:30 P. M.—The friends of Bells and McLean are encouraged by diversions from Mr. Houston, whose supporters are somewhat alarmed at the Platform Committee having unanimously agreed to report the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws as a platform. It is expected that the Convention will be satisfied with this.

BALTIMORE, May 10.—The Convention met at ten o’clock. The Chair presented a letter from Judge Chambers, of Maryland, expressing regret at not being able to attend, and hoping that a wise and patriotic result would be attained; also a telegram from Washington, from W. C. Hayes Fouck, of New York, arguing the Constitution and Washington’s Farewell Address as a sufficient platform.

On calling the roll, Delegates appeared from Florida and Rhode Island which were not represented yesterday.

Mr. Ingersoll reported from the Committee on Business, the result of their deliberations, which he said was characterized by great unanimity and patriotism. The report says that–

WHEREAS, Experience has demonstrated that all platforms adopted by the political parties have the effect to mislead, and to cause political divisions, that encouraging geographical and sectional parties; therefore,

Resolved, That both patriotism and duty require that they should recognize no policy or principles, but those resting on the broad foundation of the Constitution of the country, the Union of the States, and the enforcement of the laws—[Great applause and cheers]—and that as representatives of the Constitutional and Union party, and of the country-they pledge themselves to maintain, protect, and defend those principles, thus affording security at home and abroad, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and prosperity.

Adopted by acclamation. They reported another resolution that each State should determine for itself the mode of voting, whether by unit or otherwise. This excited considerable discussion, the minorities of delegations contending that its adoption would place them at the mercy of the majorities and thus stifle the expression of their individual preferences.

Mr. Warner, of Massachusetts, said he came here to express the sentiments of his constituents. The resolution reported from the committee was one of the bold party tricks to place the minorities under the control of the majorities. If his State had instructed him for a particular man, he would obey the instruction; but none such had been given, and he desired that the delegates should vote in their individual capacity.

Mr. Pierce, of Maryland, denied that the committee had any intention of perpetrating party tricks. It was a mere question of expediency. He thought there was no intention to smother the voice of the minority. In his own delegation it has been determined that every vote should be allowed to indicate its preference.

Mr. Partridge, of Miss., sustained the report of the Committee. The question was whether the delegations should determine how the voting was to be done, or whether the Convention would do their best to leave it to the delegations.

Mr. Morehead, of N. C., wanted each district to have its vote, whether for Mr. Houston or for Mr. Somebody else. “A voice”-“Bell.” [Applause.]

Mr. Morehead, I should say Graham, [applause.] Mr. Morehead continued advocating the voting by districts, and opposing any attempt to silence the voice of minorities.

Mr. Stevens, of New York, offered an amendment that each delegation be entitled to one vote.

Mr. Johnson offered an amendment that each district be entitled to one vote.

Mr. Comegys, of Del., said his State had 21 Congressional Districts, and the adoption of that resolution would deprive that State of two votes.

Mr. Hill, of Ga., advocated the resolution of the committee.

Mr. Brooks, of N. Y., denied that he had any intention to stifle the voice of minorities. He offered the previous question on the resolution of the Committee, that each State at large and each district be entitled to one vote.

Mr. Watson offered a proviso that no delegate be deprived of his individual vote without his consent.

Mr. Brooks accepted this amendment, and withdrew his proviso.

Mr. J. A. Rockwell, of Conn., opposed allowing States not fully represented to cast the entire vote for districts that were not represented.

Mr. Murphy, of New York, offered as a substitute, that each State be entitled to as many votes as she has Senators and Representatives in Congress, and that each delegate be entitled to one vote.

First Ballot-Houston, 57; Bell, 68½; Everett, 25; McLean, 22; Graham, 22; Sharkey, 6; Crittenden, 28; Goggin, 3; Botts, 9½; Rives, 3.

Second Ballot-Bell nominated.

Mr. Goggin, of Va., offered a resolution that the Chairman of each delegation cast the vote of the State, in accordance with the instructions given to the delegates from the different districts of the State. Where a State was not fully represented, a majority of the delegation to determine how the vote, when represented by districts, shall be cast, and where two delegates representing one district are divided, each be entitled to half a vote.

After a short discussion, Mr. Goggin’s amendment was adopted, and the resolution as amended passed.

Mr. Smith, of Missouri, moved to proceed to vote for President, and that the lowest candidate be dropped after the third ballot. Motion laid on the table.

Mr. Buell, of New York, moved to proceed to a ballot for President and continue to vote until some one received a majority. Carried.

A resolution was adopted for the appointment of Tellers, and the Chair appointed Messrs. Brooks, of New York, Hackett, of Tennessee, Rockwell, of Connecticut, and Rockwell, of Mississippi.

The delegation of Maryland retired for consultation.

Mr. Barnett, of Minnesota, asked to be excused from voting, as he was the only delegate from that State, and he only a proxy.

Hon. John Bell was nominated on the second ballot.

On motion of Mr. Brooks the nomination was made unanimous, amidst tremendous cheers.

Mr. Henry of Tennessee, a grand son of Patrick Henry, in the name of Tennessee, thanked the Convention for the honor conferred upon the State by the nomination of John Bell, who he pronounced patriotic, and above all sectionalism. His life had been devoted to the common good of all America. If elected his administration would be pure, patriotic and constitutional.

Mr. Henry spoke at length for the Union, and was followed by Judge Sharkey, of Mississippi.

The Convention took a recess until 5 o’clock P. M.

A ratification mass meeting will be held to-night in Monument Square.

The Convention met again at 5 P. M. A motion was made to proceed to ballot for a candidate for Vice President.

Mr. Switzler, of Mo., after a few remarks, nominated Edward Everett. [Immediate applause.]

Mr. Brooks followed, and in the name of his delegation, seconded that nomination.

Various delegations, through the Chairman, indorsed the nomination, each announcement being greeted with immense cheering and every demonstration of enthusiasm.

Mr. Willard, in behalf of Mr. Everett, accepted the nomination in an appropriate address. He rejoiced that the Convention had to-day rejected the doctrine of availability, and appealed to the nobler influences of men. The work of to-day would send a thrill of joy and hope throughout the land. He predicted that the nominations would awake the enthusiasm, and invoke an united effort in behalf of our common country.

Naill S. Brown, of Tennessee, followed and accepted the nomination of Mr. Everett. There was no one whom the American people owe a brighter debt of gratitude. We hoped the word fail this year would not be found in their vocabulary.

Mr. Watson, of Miss., followed in the indorsement of every word said in the eulogy of Edward Everett.

Mr. Wheeler, of Vermont, gave the nine votes of his State in favor of Mr. Everett.

Mr. Montgomery, of Pa., was opposed to these speeches on either side. If there are more delegations prepared to leave, let them go. They have all made up their minds, and we have made up ours. We wish to proceed with business.

R. W. Thompson, of Indiana, moved that the vote for Mr. Everett be unanimous, and it was carried by acclamation.

Mr. Little moved that the President communicate these nominations to Messrs. Bell and Everett.

On motion, the Chair was authorized to appoint an executive committee of one from each State.

C. C. Latham moved the appointment of an executive committee to reside at Washington during the campaign.

The latter resolution was carried.

On motion, the present National Committee was authorized to select the place for the meeting of the National Convention.

Mr. Hunt in a few remarks, tendered his acknowledgements for the courtesy and kindness with which he had been treated as presiding officer, and congratulated the Convention on the happy issue of their labors.

The Convention adjourned sine die.

After the final adjournments and informal meeting took place in Monument Square, where extensive operations had been in progress for several days, for a grand ratification meeting, which, owing to the unfavorable weather, and the incomplete state of the arrangements, had been postponed until to-morrow night. Notwithstanding the weather, there was quite a large gathering, listening to the speeches of Mr. Varian and other members of the Convention.