Meeting at the African Church.
--An immense throng, composed of persons holding a variety of political opinions-- old, young, and middle-aged — assembled at the African Church on Monday night, in response to the following notice, which appeared in the papers of the day:
"The citizens of Richmond
, who are in favor of resistance to Black Republican rule and aggression, and in favor of prompt and decided action on the part of Virginia
in regard to the present crisis, will hold a meeting at the African Church, on this (Monday) evening, at 7 o'clock, for the purpose of nominating candidates to represent the city in the approaching State Convention."
The meeting was called to order by Mr. Henry L. Brooke
, on whose motion Mr. David I. Burr
was elected presiding officer.
On taking the chair, Mr. Burr
made a brief address.
After reading the call for the meeting, he said he came, like others, in response to it, with no further information as to what was contemplated.
He believed that the only course for the South
to pursue was to act with firmness and unanimity.
He denounced coercion, which would put an end to all hope of a reconstruction of the Union
, and of its preservation as it was framed by our fathers.
The necessity of good order in the proceeding was urged, through the influence of which alone the proper weight and dignity could be given to a primary assemblage of the people.
On motion of Mr. Brooke
, Messrs. John Purcell
, Thomas W. McCance
, Thomas H. Wynne
and James Alfred Jones
were elected Vice Presidents
On motion of Mr. Todd
, Mr. John Bell Bigger
was appointed Secretary
Mr. Wm. F. Watson
moved that Messrs. O. J. Wise
, Wm. Old, Jr., and Robert Ridgway
be also appointed Secretaries
; but much noisy opposition being manifested, he withdrew the motion.
Mr. John M. Patton
said he understood the object of the meeting was to nominate men who were prepared to say on the floor of the Convention
should withdraw from the Confederacy
before the 4th of March, unless satisfactory guarantees were speedily given for the protection of Southern rights.--(Applause.) It was expected that those who were opposed to such action would not participate in the proceedings.
alluded to the remark of Wendell Phillips
, that ‘"poor old Virginia
had gone under — there was nothing left of her but bubbles."’ For this reflection upon the inactivity of Virginia
in this crisis we were indebted to the Legislature, and he hoped to God that body had misrepresented
the sentiments of the people.
(Cheers.) After some further remarks, Mr. Patton
introduced the following resolutions:
Resolved, That the meeting now proceed to vote by ballot for candidates to represent the city of Richmond
in the approaching Convention.
Resolved, That the nominations be made in open meeting.
Resolved, That after the first ballot all the nominees be dropped except the six highest; and afterwards, at each successive ballot, the candidate having the lowest vote shall be dropped.
Resolved, That until the number of candidates to which Richmond
is entitled shall be nominated.
there shall be no speeches.
hoped the last resolution would be dropped.
(Cries of ‘"Oh, no!"’) He desired to counteract the influence intended to be exercised over the foreign vote by the card of Mr. Botts
--(hisses and cheers)--to present to the foreign voters a Constitutional view of the case, that they might not be influenced by specious or plausible argument--(cries of ‘"take the stand!"’ ‘"sit down!"’ ‘"go on!"’)
then mounted the platform, and attempted to proceed, but every mention of Mr. Botts
' name raised such a tempest that he consented to postpone his remarks until after the business of the meeting had been disposed of.
The resolutions were then adopted by acclamation, and the Chairman
called for nominations.
nominated George W. Randolph
Mr. George D. Wootton
nominated John M. Patton
(The sound of Mr. Wootton
's voice occasioned loud shouts from the galleries, but he manfully insisted upon his rights.)
Mr. Wm. A. Jinkins
nominated John O. Steger
Mr. H. L. Brooke
nominated David I. Burr
, but Mr. Burr
at once declined.
Mr. J. H. Chamberlayne
nominated J. Randolph Tucker
At this stage of the proceedings, a row occurred in the eastern part of the house, but the Chairman
finally succeeded in restoring order.
nominated Geo. W. Munford
Mr. Edgar Macon
moved that the meeting adjourn.
(Shouts of ‘"No!
nominated P. R. Grattan
The row here broke out afresh, and there were symptoms of a determination to eject those who were prominent in disturbing the proceedings.
made several attempts to deliver a harangue, but was finally prevailed on to keep quiet.
Mr. John Thompson Brown
moved that twelve tellers be appointed.
appealed to outsiders to preserve order.
It was a shame that the people could not hold a primary meeting without being subjected to constant interruptions.
Mr. Thos. H. Wynne
seconded the nomination of Mr. Munford
, and read a letter from that gentleman in answer to a call made upon him through the Enquirer,
expressing firm devotion to the South
in this crisis, and consenting to the use of his name, While willing to accept guarantees from the North
, he would, if they were not speedily given, vote for Virginia
to take her place by the side of the seceding States.
Mr. Wm. B. Smith
nominated Wm. H. Macfarland
Mr. C. B. Luck
nominated John M. Patton
The Chair.--Mr. Patton
is already in nomination.
nominated James R. Crenshaw
Somebody nominated Marmaduke Johnson
Mr. John Purcell
said he hoped it would be understood that all nominees must abide by the decision of the meeting.
He asked if the gentleman who nominated Mr. Johnson
could answer for him.
Some one shouted, ‘"Johnson
is here — let him answer for himself."’ (Cheers and hisses.)
arose, and the confusion still prevailing, the Chairman
said he would vacate his place if order was not preserved.
He appealed to the meeting to listen to Mr. Johnson
said he did not come there to speak, nor did he intend to make a speech; but he thought if any one wished to speak he ought to be heard.
(Here there was another boisterous interruption, and officers Seal
were observed making their way through the crowd.)
resumed. He did not wish to see this meeting disturbed.
He hoped they would be allowed to do what they proposed to do. But having heard his name called, and fearing that his silence might be misinterpreted, he wished to say that he took no part in the proceedings.
It was known that he was a candidate for the Convention
, and all he wanted was a fair chance when the time arrived.--He did not consent to the use of his name in this meeting.
[Cheers--‘"That's it!"’] His name was already before the people, and if they preferred any other to represent them, he was content.
Messrs. Thomas P. August
, P. H. Aylett
, Robt. F. Morriss
, and John Robertson
were also placed in nomination.
Mr. Wm. A. Jinkins
wanted to know if the gentleman who nominated Mr. Macfarland
could say whether he would abide by the decision of this meeting or not.
Mr. R. B. Ward
was authorized to withdraw Mr. Macfarland
He was not present, and no one could answer for him.
The noise was now so great that the Chairman
repeated his purpose to vacate.
He would not preside over such an assemblage.
(Cries of "Don't resign!
we'll have order!")
The Chair.--Well, if you expect me to preside, you must preserve order.
I cannot do it. I hope Richmond
will not get a reputation all over the country for the disorderly conduct of her citizens.
I ask those who are disturbing this meeting, if they have not respect enough for their city to allow a portion of the citizens to express their opinions peaceably?
appealed to Mr. Johnson
's friends to respond to his own sentiments, and observe the rules of propriety.
requested everybody to sit down.
Twelve tellers having been appointed, they proceeded to collect the ballots, while great confusion prevailed.
was observed to gesticulate with tremendous energy.
Cries of ‘"put him out!"’ ‘"order!"’ The fall of the stove pipe at this time increased the excitement.
Presently, shouts of ‘"Fight!"’ from another quarter, turned attention in that direction.
The crowd in the galleries kept up a hooting and whistling, and Mr. Allen V. Lyon
moved that the galleries be cleared, but consented to withdraw it.
Mr. R. B. Ward
said he was not of this meeting, nor taking any part in it. (‘"Yes you are — sit down!"’) Fair play is a jewel.
He appealed to his friends in the galleries to keep order, and give the meeting all the facilities that others might require under similar circumstances.
Captain R. F. Morriss
hoped the meeting would take some action relative to recent proceedings at Fortress Monroe
The attention of the Legislature should be directed that way. Virginia
never ceded that property to the Government
to give the Government
an opportunity to point its guns at one of her towns and slaughter her citizens.
said it was proper that such
an expression should be made.
But as this meeting was called for the specific purpose of nominating big guns for the Convention
, it would scarcely be in order to bring in the big guns of the Government
until after that business was disposed of. (Laughter.)
The assemblage now remained comparatively quiet until Mr. R. T. Sale
arose and shouted-- Have Americans
lost all love for the name of America
(Cries of ‘"Put him out!"’ ‘"go it spread eagle!"’ and hisses.) I move, in order to amuse the meeting while we are waiting for the Committee
, that some good reader be requested to read the farewell address of George Washington
(Sensation — cheers and hisses.)
A Voice.--Put him out!
.--It is the last resort of a coward to say, put him out.
He then went on to caution the people against being misled by the newspapers, all of which was good humored listened to.
now announced the return of the teller, and the result of the ballot was proclaimed, as follows:
Whole number of votes, 431.
Necessary for a choice, 216. George W. Randolph
had 315; John O. Steger
, 233; Judge John Robertson
, 185; Geo. W. Munford
, 104; John Randolph Tucker
, 100; Peachy R. Grattan
, 49; John M. Patton
, 41; P. H. Aylett
, 37; James R. Crenshaw
, 35; Thos
. P. August, 23; scattering, 105.
The Chair announced that Messrs. Randolph
Mr. N. B. Hill
moved that the three highest be nominated by acclamation.
This was objected to.
successively withdrew their names, and expressed a hope that the meeting would unite upon the three highest candidates.
Mr. O. J. Wise
read a letter from Col. Geo. W. Munford
, withdrawing his name from the canvass.
A good many declared their purpose to vote for him any how, when Major Wm. Munford
arose and stated that it was his father's wish to have his name withdrawn.
nominated Judge Robertson
as the third candidate, and the question being put, there was a loud response in the affirmative.
The Chair then announced the names of the three candidates selected--George W. Randolph
, John O. Steger
, and Judge John Robertson
. Loud cheers followed the announcement.
was called to the stand, and warmly greeted.
After expressing his thanks, he said if the people chose to elect him, he should not go into the Convention
as a run mad secessionist, nor, on the other hand, as a submissionist.
He was for a reconstruction of the Union
, but was not sanguine enough to believe that any effort in that direction would be successful.
He would live under the Constitution
, and die under it if necessary, but he did not mean to live under the Chicago Platform
(Here the speaker was interrupted by some person in the crowd.) Resuming, he said, if you will shut your mouth and go home, you will be a wiser man and a better citizen.
A blackguard is the lowest of all creatures; and he who, screening himself in a crowd, and wantonly insults a gentleman is beneath the contempt of a kick.
(Prolonged cheers.) Mr.
R. alluded to the concessions necessary to be made by the North
; and if they did not come speedily, he was ready to take the final plunge, and go out of the Union
He cautioned the people not to listen to threats, nor to heed intimations of popular fear.
If the rights demanded were not granted, go out, and let the future take care of itself.
He was opposed to all violence; counselled moderation, and would do all he could to protect the country from the danger of civil war; but, when it was no longer possible, he would tell his hearers now, that if they voted for him they would vote for a man who, under those circumstances, would take the State
out of the Union
as soon as a vote of his could do it. He was willing to stay in if the Black Republicans
would give bond for their good behavior; but if not, he was for cutting loose from them.
In conclusion, he reiterated his thanks for this evidence of the confidence of his fellow-citizens.
Mr. John O. Steger
was then called up, and was cordially received.
After thanking the meeting, he expressed his profound sensibility of the great importance of the office for which he was nominated.
He should endeavor, as far as in him lay, to be true to the honor, true to the credit, and true to the ancient renown of Virginia
He was in favor of the withdrawal of the State
from the Union
before the 4th of March, (applause,) unless, before that time, ample guarantees were given for the protection of our rights within the Union
S. was opposed to any compromise unless it should be acceptable to those States which had already seceded.
While Mr. Steger
was speaking, the crowd in the Eastern
gallery commenced whistling "Yankee Doodle
" and beating time with their feet.
The patience of those below had by this time been exhausted, and forbearance ceased to be a virtue.
Accordingly, some fifteen or twenty muscular young men made a move towards the gallery, seeing which the crowd began to surge to and fro; some leaped over the front of the gallery to escape the anticipated collision, but the majority remained until the party from below ascended the steps.--Then there was a whirling of sticks, with shouts of ‘"clear them out,"’ and straight- way the offenders began to slide down stairs in double quick time.
It is stated that a pistol was fired in the melee, and that one individual's head was shoved through a window; but nobody was seriously hurt, and the gallery was soon occupied by the attacking party.--After this episode, the meeting proceeded without interruption.
then resumed and concluded his speech.
Mr. J. Randolph Tucker
responded for Judge Robertson
, who was absent from the city on a mission to South Carolina
The meeting was subsequently addressed by Messrs. Wm. F. Watson
, O. Jennings Wise
and Jas. R. Crenshaw
The following preamble and resolution, prepared by Mr. Purcell
, were offered by Mr. Wise
, and adopted by acclamation:
Whereas, The Legislature of Virginia has formally declared that any act of coercion, directed against a Southern State, will be regarded by Virginia
as act of war, and immediately resisted with all the means in our power: Be it
Resolved, That the attention of the Legislature be hereby called to the fact of the overt act of coercion now actually perpetrated at Fortress Monroe
The meeting adjourned about 12 o'clock.