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[324] lavished at Charleston on futile attempts to bring them to an agreement, that the party first and the Union next might be saved from imminent dissolution. Personal aspirations, doubtless, had their weight; but the South could have taken any candidate — perhaps even Douglas himself — if he were standing squarely, openly, on the Avery or Breckinridge platform; and so, probably, could the Northern delegates have consented to support Breckinridge or Howell Cobb on the Payne-Samuels or Douglas platform. Never was an issue more broadly made or clearly defined as one of conflicting, incompatible assumptions. And nowhere in the Slave States did the Breckinridge men consent to any compromise, partnership, coalition, or arrangement, with the partisans of Douglas, though aware that their antagonism would probably give several important States to the Bell-Everett ticket. But the Douglasites of the Free States, on their part, evinced a general readiness to waive their prestige of regularity, and support Electoral tickets made up from the ranks of each anti-Republican party. Thus, in New York, the “Fusion” anti-Lincoln ticket was made up of ten supporters of Bell and Everett, seven of Breckinridge and Lane, and the residue friends of Douglas. No doubt, there was an understanding among the managers that, if all these could elect Mr. Douglas, their votes should be cast solid for him; but the contingency thus contemplated was at best a remote one, while the fact that those who had the prestige of Democratic regularity consented to bargain and combine with bolters and “Know-Nothings,” tended to confuse and be-wilder those who “always vote the regular ticket,” and were accustomed to regard a Democratic bolter with more repugnance than a life-long adversary. The portents, from the outset, were decidedly unfavorable to Mr. Douglas's election.

And, from the shape thus given to the canvass, his chances could not fail to suffer. The basis of each anti-Lincoln coalition could, of course, be nothing else than hostility to the Republican idea of excluding Slavery from the territories. Now, the position directly and thoroughly antagonistic to this was that of the Breckinridge party, which denied the right to exclude, and proclaimed the right of each slaveholder to carry Slavery into any territory. The position of Mr. Douglas was a mean between these extremes; and, in an earnest, arduous struggle, the prevailing tendency steadily is away from the mean, and toward a positive and decided position on one side or the other. The great mercantile influence in the seaboard cities had one controlling aim in its political efforts — to conciliate and satisfy the South, so as to keep her loyal to the Union. But Douglasism, or “Squatter Sovereignty,” did not satisfy the South--in fact, since the failure to establish Slavery in Kansas, was regarded with special loathing by many Southrons, as an indirect and meaner sort of Wilmot Proviso. Wherever a coalition was effected, the canvass was thenceforth prosecuted on a basis which was a mumbling compromise between the Bell and the Breckinridge platforms, but which was usually reticent with regard to “Popular Sovereignty.”

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