whatever name the secret, oath-bound leagues of thorough-going sympathizers with Slavery and the Rebellion
chose to be known to each other, were, by evident preconcert, on hand in extraordinary strength and in immeasurable virulence.
Gov. H. Seymour
--who seems to have nursed secret hopes of achieving a nomination for the Presidency — made an extreme anti-War address on assuming the chair; but his polished sentences seemed tame and moderate by comparison with the fiery utterances volunteered from hotel balconies, on street-corners, and wherever space could be found for the gathering of an impromptu audience; while the wildest, most intemperate utterances of virtual treason — those which would have caused Lee
's army, had it been present, to forget its hunger and rags in an ecstasy of approval — were sure to evoke the loudest and longest plaudits.
For example, the ex-Rev. C. Chauncey Burr
, of New Jersey
, thus set forth his sympathy with the insurgents:
We had no right to burn their wheat-fields, steal their pianos, Spoons, or jewelry.
Mr. Lincoln had stolen a good many thousand negroes; but for every negro he had thus stolen he had stolen 10,000 spoons.
It had been said that, if the South would lay down their arms, they would be received back into the Union.
The South could not honorably lay down her arms, for she was fighting for her honor.
Two millions of men had been sent down to the slaughterpens of the South, and the army of Lincoln could not again be filled, neither by enlistments nor conscription.
If he ever uttered a prayer, it was that no one of the States of the Union should be conquered and subjugated.
Rev. Henry Clay Dean
, of Iowa
, said :
For over three years, Lincoln had been calling for men, and they had been given.
But, with all the vast armies placed at his command, he had failed!
failed!! Failed!!! failed!!!! Such a failure had never been known.
Such destruction of human life had never been seen since the destruction of Sennacherib by the breath of the Almighty.
And still the monster usurper wanted more men for his slaughter-pens. * * * Ever since the usurper, traitor, and tyrant, had occupied the Presidential chair, the Republican party had shouted “War to the knife, and the knife to the hilt!
” Blood had flowed in torrents; and yet the thirst of the old monster was not quenched.
His cry was for more blood.
Such was the spirit of the harangues which were poured forth on every side throughout the sittings of that Convention.
Their substance was tersely though coarsely summed up in the remark of Judge Miller
, of Ohio
There is no real difference between a War Democrat and an Abolitionist.
They are links of one sausage, made out of the same dog.
None can say how many of the vast gathering who yelled assent to such utterances knew
that they were surrounded by and mixed up with Rebel officers fresh from Canada
, who had been sent here expressly to cooperate with certain domestic traitors, high in office in the secret organizations aforesaid, in the sudden mustering of a force, mainly of ‘American Knights’ (locally known as “ Illini” ), which should first liberate the 8,000 Rebel captives then held in Camp Douglas
, near that city; thence rushing with rapidly augmented numbers to the achievement of a similar success at the prison-camp near Indianapolis-thus raising the siege of Richmond
by “ a fire in the rear” --but that such a conspiracy had for weeks existed; that many then in Chicago
were heartily engaged in it; and that, but for the extraordinary astuteness, vigilance, and energy, of Col. B. J. Sweet
, then in command over Camp Douglas