The Result of Unwise Action
Richmond Semi-weekly Examiner, June 19, 1860
We have already expressed our views as to the propriety of admitting the delegations from the Southern Democratic States which have been recently in session in this city to a full participation in the proceedings of the adjourned Convention to meet in Baltimore. All our reflections confirm and strengthen us in that opinion. We see nothing but mischief to the party and country to result from an effort to reject them. The party once broken now, is and must be sectionalized. It may be made a strong organization for Southern defense, but will not and cannot be made an efficient agent in controlling the action, limiting the expenditures, or directing in any manner the administration of the Federal Government. It may have some limited power of resistance in the Union, but its usefulness will result from the readiness with which it may be used for purposes of attack or defense in case of collision with the power of the federal majority, when there will be necessity to dissolve the Union. The party once sundered at Baltimore, the Northern Democracy becomes the weakest of all parties in the Union. The Baltimore Union Convention nominees and the Seceding Democrats will fight it out in the Southern States. The Black Republicans will sweep the North, if the abolitionists do not disorganize them. Whoever wins, the Northern Democracy goes down never to rise, unless the present Democratic party shall be preserved. We have heard some absurd assertions, that when the fragment of the Baltimore Convention shall reject the delegation from the South and drive out the non-seceding slave States—that they can nominate a candidate after rejecting the majority platform and the Tennessee resolution, and carry the election, too. This opinion is based on the idea, we hear, that Mr. DOUGLAS can carry the North, when the delegates at Baltimore shall refuse to make him the nominee without a two-thirds vote, and carry it so entirely as not to require a Southern electoral vote. Now, if the Northern Democracy have any such thought, or any disposition to act on it, the whole matter is ended, and LINCOLN is elected; and, for ourselves, we will rejoice at it. That may possibly rouse the South. Mr. Douglas and his men have had a fair chance before the country and the Convention. He must get his nomination fairly through the action of the Democracy in Convention on the terms agreed to in the past and confirmed by the action of the most recent Democratic assemblage, or he will be execrated by every honest man in the land. His nomination at any time in the last two years would have been an unfortunate one, and his election at the best most doubtful. And this would have been the case if his nomination had been made by two-thirds of a full Convention, and the bitterness of his present quarrel with the extreme Southern Democratic States could have been avoided. But his election by the people, or by the House of Representatives, will be simply impossible, should he come before the country on his own motion or as the nominee of a fragment of the Democratic Convention. In the face of these facts his peculiar friends, South and North, are stimulating the quarrel between the Northern and Southern Democrats. It certainly is no concern of ours, but he is about to be crushed between the upper and nether mill-stones of rash friends and of foes who are arrayed in the garb of friends. We say that it behooves every friend of Democracy, and of every candidate who desires to be elected, to take the last chance now presented of uniting and consolidating the strength of the only party which can save the country from Freesoil tyranny. Those who please may talk about going before a Black Republican Congress for an election; everybody knows what that means—to take the chances of buying a vote, or malting a corrupt arrangement, and to ensure what is the certain, final result, absolute submission to anti-slavery domination. Say what they may, this is to be the result of an appeal from the people to Congress. If this catastrophe is to be avoided, it must be by an election by the people, and this cannot be secured, as everybody knows, unless the Southern Democratic vote is cast in mass, or very nearly in mass, for the most prominent opponent of the Chicago nominees.
All this bluster about severing the Democratic party, and beating LINCOLN and electing a Southern or Northern conservative man by the people, is mere stuff, and every man of sense knows it when he hears it, and almost all know it when they say it. There is no man in the United States who can offend and throw off fifty conservative electoral votes and beat the Black Republicans. Desperate politicians make desperate boasts, and more desperate efforts, to retrieve fallen fortunes or to make new ones. But the people desire that the next election shall be made in such a manner as to secure the country against the ruinous consequences of corrupt and fanatical tyranny. The people are neither gaming, speculating nor seeking to get control of money or patronage. They have great interests at stake—a posterity to care for, a country and a grand polity to preserve and improve. They will not see with patience, or pass by with impunity, the acts of those who put these to hazard for the petty purposes of electing a man to office, or for the equally little cause of maintaining consistency on an immaterial question. The Union is in danger, that is something; the chance of severing the Southern people into hostile parties is imminent, and that is greatly more. The possibility—nay, the probability—of subjecting the Southern minority of property-holders in this great Confederacy to the domination of a government ruled by the enemies of their section and the destroyers of all rights of property in slaves, is imminent, and, we believe, will be unavoidable, if the Baltimore Convention hearkens to the counsel of those who desire and are striving to drive off the Democracies of the cotton States.