Republicans Gather in Baltimore for Convention

June 5, 1864

“For a day or two the House has been full of patriots on the way to Baltimore who wish to pay their respects & engrave on the expectant mind of the President, their images, in view of future contingencies,” writes presidential aide John Hay in his diary. “Among the genuine delegations have come some of the bogus & irregular ones.”

Presidential aide John G. Nicolay writes Hay: “Arrived here safely – find quite a number of delegates already in, but have not yet talked much with them.”

“One of the first men I met was B.C. Cook, who stands at the head of our Illinois delegation, and had quite a long and confidential talk with him. He told me he had thought of going to Washington Tomorrow, but seeing me he concluded he could sufficiently post himself.

“He promised by telling me that the milk-and-water Lincoln resolution which was first reported to the Illinois State Convention, was cooked up by a few plotters, to the utter surprise and astonishment of nine-tenths of the Convention, and by only a part of the Committee, and was with the others reported to the Convention when there was but a small attendance, it being late at night, but that the Convention very handsomely repudiated them, referred them to a new Committee, which introduced and passed others of the right stripe. Cooke does not seem to know thoroughly who were at the bottom of the matter. He thinks Turner was the chief manager. Medill is understood to have declared himself opposed to the resolution in Committee but seems to have contented himself with the mere expression of his dissent, after which he went away without further active opposition. Strangely enough one or two men have told me that Wm A Grimshaw, either of his own volition or under the influence of others, was in the scheme Jack[son Grimshaw] on the contrary. Cook told me, was open and hearty for Lincoln.

Cook says there will be three or four disaffected members in the delegation from Illinois, but that nevertheless the delegation will vote and act as a unit, under the instructions of the Convention and also the will of the large majority of the delegation. He says the delegation will in good faith do everything the can for Lincoln that is in arranging the Vice P., the Committees, Platform &C. taking his own nomination of course as beyond question.

What transpired at home, and what he has heard from several sources, have made Cook suspicious that Swett may be untrue to Lincoln. One of the straws which lead him to this belief is that Swett has telegraphed here urging the Illinois delegation to for [Joseph] Holt for Vice President.

I told Cook that I thought Lincoln would not wish even to indicate a preference for V.P. as the rival candidates were all friendly to him.

There will be some little trouble in arranging the matter of the contested seats from Missouri. The Radicals seem to have the technical right to be admitted. They threaten to withdraw from the Convention if the Conservation if they (the Radicals) obtain the seats. Cook says they intimated to him that they would even promise to vote for Lincoln in the Convention, for the promise of an admission to seats.

Whitelaw Reid is here and told me this evening that the Radicals conceded Lincoln’s renomination, but their present game was to make a very radical platform.

Cook wants to know confidentially whether Swett is all right – whether in urging Holt for V.P. he reflects the Presidents wishes – whether the President has any preference, either personally on the score of policy – or whether he wishes not even to interfere by a confidential indication. Also whether he thinks it would be good policy to give the Radical delegates from Missouri the seats, on their promising to vote for him.

Please get this information for me, if possible. Write and send your letter by express so that it will reach me by the earliest practicable hour on tomorrow (Monday). This will go to you by express by the 7 A.M. train tomorrow so that you ought to have it by ten A.M.

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Published in: on June 5, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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