Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Issue

{From the New York Tribune}

It is no disparagement to Gen. Fremont to say that the meeting of Monday eve in his behalf was the broadest burlesque of the season. It was large, spirited, enthusiastic; but it was not largely composed of Fremonters, nor specially enthusiastic for Fremont. It was honestly and truly an anti-Lincoln meeting, yet there were probably as many present who suport Lincoln for re-election as expect ever to vote for Fremont. The list of officers, the speakers, and nearly everything else, tend to show it is utter baselessness, regarded as a movement to make Gen. Fremont our next President on the Cleveland platform.

We repeat that this is no disparagement to Gen. Fremont, who has many and zealous friends here and a very considerable popularity throughout the country. But the simple over ruling truth is that, in presence of the stupendous events of our time, the momentous issues now impending, all personal considerations seem trivial and impertinent. As we give but a paragraph to a murder or railroad accident which in peaceful times would have absorbed many of our columns, so the elevation of Mr. this or General that excites no general interest in view of the gigantic, bloody, struggle, whereof our whole country is the arena. “Shall the Republic live or die?” is the question which engrosses all thoughts, rendering the aspirations and fortunes of Jones or Tompkins of no account.

Should Gen. Fremont be nominated at chicago – of which we see no chance – he will thereupon become a formidable candidate for President. If not nominated there, he will get no vote worth counting. Tens of thousands who would gladly support him if he had a chance will refuse to do so, seeing that they thereby connive at a Copperhead triumph. Third parties will be of smaller account this Fall than ever before. Hence we lay no stress on the feuds which now visibly distract the Opposition. Tens of thousands among them think they will support none other than a Union War candidate; as many, if not more, are equally strenuous in their resolution to support only a “Peace” ticket; but when the nomination shall have been made, nearly all these will support the nominee, whether the leading name be that of McClelan [sic], Fremont, Filmore, or any one else. And whosoever shall be the nominated there will have to be the Pro-Slavery candidate – in favor, of a “reconstruction” of our Nationality with Slavery left in and Impartial Freedom kicked out. Mr. Wendell Phillips or Dr. Brownson may struggle against this – may persuade himself, and perhaps a few others, that the fact is no fact – but all in c_in “Shall the Union be reconstructed with slavery or with out? Is the main Question to be decided at our next Presidential Election; and the voice of those who wish it reconstructed without will inevitable be concentrated on Lincoln and Johnson; while the other sort will be cast for whatever ticket shall be framed at chicago. And these two tickets will divide between them ninety-nine of every hundred votes cast throughout the country.

We say this, in no spirit of partisanship, but because it is the manifest truth. We are impelled to it by no trace of feeling, no shadow of prejudice; We should support Gen. Fremont quite as willingly as Mr. Lincoln if the former stood at the head of the Anti-slavery host; but he does not. Either Mr. Lincoln must be re-elected, or he must be superseded by the candidate of Vallandigham [sic] and the Seymours, of Garret Davis and Fernando Wood – Whatever any one may wish, this is the only practicable alternative. Gen. Fremont, in order to have a shadow of chance, must more and more command himself to the favor of the sham Democracy; and if he does so his Anti-slavery supports will necessarily fall away from him. Here is a sample:

To the Editor of the N Y Tribune.

Sir: I see my name in the list of Secretaries of the Fremont and Cochrane ratification meeting held at cooper Institute last evening.

So far as that meeting was in harmony with the grand platform of principle adopted at the cleveland convention, I am with it. So far as it sympathized with the principles and policy heretofore advocated by Gen. George B. McClellan and many of his friends, I must beg leave not to be counted in.

I am for justice and equal rights to every man, either black or white, on God’s footstool; for free speech, free press, and no compromise with traitors or with sympathizers with treason, and for the immediate overthrow of Slavery, as paramount to all other objects. I believe these to be the sentiments of the “Radical Democracy.”

Yours, &c.,
D. H. Plumb

New York, June 25, 1864

– Published in The Union Sentinel, Osceola, Iowa, Saturday, July 9, 1864

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