Nashville Union and American, May 15, 1860
In a recent article we stated that the feelings of the delegates towards Mr. DOUGLAS were intensified by the action of the Charleston Convention. We said that his friends were more determined in their devotion; his opponents more steadfast in their opposition. The tone of our exchanges fully corroborates what we then said. We had earnestly hoped that this strife about men would cease and that the leading Democratic papers in the North and in the South would no longer be organs of men but become organs of the party. That they would express a willingness to see the claims of prominent aspirants ignored rather than see the party divided and defeated. But in this reasonable hope we have thus far been disappointed. With the DOUGLAS men the cry is, aut Caesar aut nullus, DOUGLAS or nobody. A directly antagonistic sentiment is expressed by the seceders. There is then but little prospect of a reconciliation between the two without an unexpected change of feeling. But there is a large portion of the Southern Democracy still represented in the convention, and they claim to have some rights which should not be totally disregarded. They do not demand a slave code, and they will resist all efforts to force upon the Northern Democracy a candidate of that school. Having such opinions, they feel that they have a right to reason with the Democracy of the North as to what is best to be done for the preservation and perpetuity of the party, believing that thereupon depend the preservation and perpetuity of the Union. This portion of the Southern Democracy, of which we profess to be a part, have seen with deep regret the attempts of leading Northern Democratic papers to brand the entire Democracy of the South as Disunionists and Secessionists. We are boldly and defiantly told that the democracy of the North and West have made up their minds, and they will not surrender another inch. We are rather insultingly informed that thousands of good Democrats in the free States are becoming convinced "that no dependence can be put in Southern honor, or Southern consistency." We respectfully submit that this is neither the language to use nor the spirit to manifest in order to restore harmony. The delegates from Minnesota who voted for Gov. JOHNSON at Charleston have been publicly denounced in Cincinnati, by an Ohio delegate, as "two traitors, who sold themselves for money." "We had their daguerreotypes taken," said the speaker, Mr. WARD, "and you can see them in the rogues gallery." Such language we find reported, without dissent, in the DOUGLAS organ of that city. Inflammatory appeals are made to the Northern Democracy calculated to excite their passions and unfit them for consultation with their friends as to what is best for the common good. From rank to rank the command flies "stand firm." Suppose the Democracy of Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee, follow the example of the Democracy in the North, and send forth the word "stand firm." The trip to Baltimore will be a trip neither of pleasure nor profit. There must be a spirit of conciliation and the sooner the better. We disclaim for the Democracy of Tennessee any intention or desire to force upon the Northern Democracy any Southern extremist. They will oppose the nomination of such an one. Having said this much, we have a word to say against the policy of nominating Mr. DOUGLAS. We know that in doing so we render ourselves liable to be denounced in certain quarters as Disunion, Secession, Yancey-ites. With many, opposition to DOUGLAS and Yanceyism are synonomous. What we have to say is in a spirit of kindness, certainly with no intention to produce further irritation. We respectfully ask what claim has Mr. DOUGLAS upon the gratitude of the Democracy of the nation which should make the necessity of its recognition superior to the success and existence of the party? Grant, if you please, all that is claimed for him by his warmest admirers, and yet he stands like every other Democrat in this broad land of ours. He has no exclusive privileges. If there are any rights involved, with becoming modesty, those rights belong to the South. Again and again and again, for more than a quarter of a century have the South yielded the nomination to the North and have supported with the zeal of devotees during all that time, with but one exception, a Northern man. Is the South because of her minority in the Convention never again to have a Presidential nomination? Her longer exclusion would be both unjust and unwise. Let the Democracy of the free States make their selection among Southern men and we shall be content, or if we must of necessity have a Northern man let those Southern Democrats who adhere to the National Convention indicate who that Northern man shall be. In either event we can pledge an undivided South for the nominee; otherwise, we cannot.
The fact that Mr. DOUGLAS received a bare majority of the electoral vote does not affect the two-thirds rule. He at no time received two-thirds of the votes that were actually cast, and if he had done so, it would not have been just to those Southern Democrats who remained, to take advantage of the action of the Seceders, and force upon those remaining a candidate unacceptable to them. Comparisons among friends are at all times unpleasant; hence we do not intend to insinuate any. But for the purpose of a correct understanding, let us analyze the vote. Mr. DOUGLAS on four different ballots received 152 ½ votes. Only 10 ½ of those votes came from the South. He received only 45 ½ votes from reliable Northern Democratic States: Rhode Island 4, Connecticut 6, New Jersey 2, Pennsylvania 9 ½, Illinois 11, Indiana 13; and from those States there were 22 ½ votes cast against him. So that from these and the remaining reliable Democratic States, including California, Oregon, and the entire South, Mr. DOUGLAS received only 56 votes, or but little over one-sixth of the vote in the convention. While there were cast against him in these reliable Democratic States, the seceding States included, one hundred and thirty-nine votes, or thirteen less than a majority of the whole vote. In the doubtful and positive anti-Democratic States he received 97 of his 152 ½ votes, or nearly two-thirds of the vote he received was from exceedingly doubtful or positively anti-Democratic States.
We know that Mr. DOUGLAS's friends in the height of their ardor claim as certain for him Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, and the entire Northwest. But we have but one way to judge of the future and that is by the past. We have no disposition to under-rate Mr. DOUGLAS's strength but we ask his zealous supporters that they do not over-rate it before they, in terms of defiance, nail his flag to the mast. Let us not be unthoughtful of results.