and Edward Everett
The Republicans met at Chicago
, May 16, and passing by Seward
, the leading candidate, nominated Abraham Lincoln
, who was supposed more likely than any one to command the support of New Jersey
, and Illinois
,—States which they failed to carry in 1856.
Their declaration of principles challenged the heresies of their adversaries by proclaiming freedom as ‘the normal condition’ of all the Territories
, by ‘denying the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any Territory of the United States
,’ and by affirming, on Giddings
's motion, the maintenance of the principles of the Declaration of Independence
as ‘essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions.’
maintained, as was his habit, reserve as to the question of candidate, writing to E. L. Pierce
, April 20:—
I enjoyed your brother's speech and your article,—both excellent.
I can trust you at Chicago, for I know that you are true and earnest.
Should Seward be rejected there, I fear it will cause him a pang.
Douglas will not be put up at Charleston.
I long for Hunter.
Then will the question be fairly in issue,—on one side slavery, just, divine, permanent; on the other, unjust, barbarous, and to be abolished.
And again, May 4, he wrote to Mr. Pierce
, who sought his advice as a delegate elected to the Republican convention from C. F. Adams
's district, as follows:—
The Democratic party is a wreck bumping on the rocks, and must go to pieces.
This gives to us assurance of success.
If any have inclined to a candidate who did not completely represent our principles, he can find no excuse now.1 We can elect any man the convention at Chicago choose to nominate.
You know that I always keep aloof from personal questions.
I see no reason now to abandon my old rule.
I have absolute faith in your devotion to the cause, and do not doubt your firmness.
These may be needed.
Could I talk with you I should review the field with some detail.
I have had much pleasure in seeing Chase here.
He has noble faculties nobly dedicated.
God bless you!
In a letter to V. Fell
, 111., he wrote, March 27:
Among Republicans 1 hope no man will be accepted who is not emphatically, heart and soul, life and conversation, a representative man. Such a man must have been an old and constant servant of the cause.
Just before the convention met, Seward
went home to Auburn
, confident of his nomination and election.