San Francisco Daily Alta California, October 13, 1860
Elections took place, on the 1st of October, in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, and on the ninth of October in Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The returns from Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi will be received by the next Express, which will arrive on Sunday; but the news of the election holden in Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania, will not probably be received until Wednesday, the 24th inst.
The votes of Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, will have an interest, as giving an indication as to what will probably be the inclination of the Southern States in the Presidential contest-whether they will support Breckinridge and Lane, or Bell and Everett. But the news from Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, will, in all probability, decide the contest; for, with full returns from the states named, we cannot well make an error in estimating the result; and unless the vote in some of these states should be very equally divided, the contest will have been virtually decided.
In Pennsylvania there were but two candidates running for Governor-Foster, Democrat and Curtin, Republican. It is believed that the whole vote, in opposition to the Republican ticket, will be received by Foster. In Ohio there are four tickets in the field, with one exception-there being but two candidates for Judge of the Supreme Court. One of the judges having declared in favor of the Fugitive Slave Law, the Republicans oppose his election; it is believed, therefore, that the vote will show the exact Republican strength.
To the returns from Pennsylvania and Indiana, the people of the whole country are looking at the present time with intense interest, for as these States go, so it is believed they will go at the Presidential election. Ohio, it is generally supposed, will cast its vote for Lincoln. In ten or eleven days from this date our citizens will probably be able to predict who will be elected to the Presidency.
There are in the United States many persons who honestly believe that the election of Lincoln would dissolve the Union. As we approach the time set for the termination of the Presidential contest, however, it becomes more evident that there is but little to fear from such a result. Indeed, the division of the Democratic Party has, to some extent, prepared the Southern States for the election of Lincoln. The position taken by Douglas in relation to Territories-although virtually declaring for non-intervention-squatter sovereignty as interpreted by the South, amounts to the same thing as a direct interference. Hence, at the present time, it is probable that the opposition to the election of Lincoln, by the Southern States, differs but little in intensity from that felt against Douglas. It is questionable whether Lincoln, as president, would not be quite as acceptable as S.A. Douglas to the slaveholding States generally. Indeed, it is not certain but the divisions in the Democratic party have occurred at an opportune moment, and that they will enable the country to pass a crisis which was destined to come sooner or later. Be this as it may, it seems as if the Southern States were, to a certain extent, prepared for the election of Lincoln. And should this event take place, we believe the storms which have threatened the disruption of the country will soon blow over, for but very little could be done by the new party injurious to Southern institutions. Indeed, the platform of the Republican Party has been greatly modified from former years. An effort has been made latterly to strike from it much that had a direct bearing upon the slavery question. There now remains enough to draw the votes of the Northern States, but not enough to satisfy many who were originally Abolitionists. Indeed, in our opinion, an inclination has been felt to cast aside the issues which originally brought the party into existence.
The Republicans claim that the normal condition of the territories of the United States is that of freedom. This we believe is also the opinion of Mr. Douglas. Both parties go upon the Common Law doctrine, that a positive enactment is necessary for the introduction of slavery into a territory. The Breckinridge Democrats urge, upon the contrary, that the Constitution of the U. S., by acknowledging property in slaves, has made the English Common Law principle inapplicable to us-that the citizens of each State of the Union have a right to take their property into the territories. Mr. Douglas, however, urges the necessity of leaving the question to the people of each territory, to settle for themselves, whereas the Republicans believe that slavery should be excluded by positive law.
Aside from the principles noticed as above, there really is but little particularly objectionable in the Republican platform, and certainly nothing to justify a dissolution of the Union. The Republican platform advocates of the rights of each State "to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively," and such is the doctrine of both branches of the Democratic Party. A Republican success is regarded as objectionable at the present time, more from what the party has been, then what it actually is.
In the event of the election of Lincoln, we do not see what the Republicans can do to create a greater strife than we have already had. The question of interference with slavery in the Territories amounts to nearly the same thing practically, whether it be excluded by Congress directly, or by a majority of the people in such Territories. Such, at least, is the view taken by slaveholders.
As we have said before, the election news expected from Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania, will probably furnish such data as to enable us to determine, with sufficient accuracy, who will be President of the United States. But, in any event, we do not see that the success of any party will jeopardize our institutions. Should the Republicans prove successful, which we regard as by no means certain at the present time, not a measure could be carried through Congress which would affect southern institutions, further than in the Territories, and even there, it is questionable whether anything of consequence could be accomplished.