Democratic Attacks on Lincoln


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, October 15, 1864

This site features an online version of the Harper's Weekly newspapers created during the Civil war. This collection was put together over the last 20 years, and we have made them available for your browsing pleasure on our WEB site. These papers have information to allow greater understanding of the war.

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General Hunt

General Hunt

Democratic Attacks on Lincoln

Price Invades Missouri

General Price's Invasion of Missouri


General David Birney

Ballad of a Rose

Ballad of a Rose

General Oglesby

General Oglesby

General Oglesby

General Oglesby

John Bull

John Bull Cartoon


1864 Battle of Winchester

Chicago Platform

Chicago Democratic Platform

Eascaping Atlanta

Rebels Escaping Atlanta






[OCTOBER 15, 1864.




THE personal character of the President is the rock upon which the Opposition is wrecked. It dashes against him and his administration, hissing and venomous, but falls back again baffled. From the day when covert rebellion lay in wait to assassinate him in Baltimore, through all the mad hate of the rebel press to the last malignant sneer of Copperhead Conservatism and foreign jealousy, the popular confidence in the unswerving fidelity and purity of purpose of the President has smiled the storm to scorn.

The chief charge against the Administration, thundered in every key, is its despotism. It is incessantly asserted that personal liberty is destroyed, that original rights are annihilated, that we are all the cowering, shivering subjects of the bloody Emperor ABRAHAM, who brings us all to our knees by pointing to one of the innumerable bastiles which shadow the land ; all of us, except ARNOLD VON WINKELRIED VALLANDIGHAM, and JOHN HAMPDEN WOOD, and WILLIAM TELL GUNTHER, and PATRICK HENRY LONG, and GEORGE WASHINGTON SEYMOUR, who bravely withstand the tyrant for the sake of justice and human rights. But with these exceptions, we are all groaning under the most intolerable tyranny, from which there is no hope of deliverance but by intrusting the Government to the hands of these patriots.

This is doubtless a cunning line of attack in the confusion and doubt of civil war. Indifference is always willing to see any Administration overthrown. Cowardice is always glad to end hostilities with the enemy by exciting hatred of the Government ; and party spirit, in every form, plays the dangerous game of seeking political power by tampering with national existence. But nothing balks such an attack so readily as personal qualities which no calumny can reach. The party which is mad with the lust of political power in this country does not hesitate to declare that the President is deliberately prolonging the war as a political game that every act of his is performed solely with reference to his re-election ; that if EARLY should return and overrun Pennsylvania, if GRANT should retire from Petersburg and SHERMAN from Atlanta, it would be because the President took care that they should not have men enough, and in every way thwarted and perplexed their plans. Yet the same party declares the war both wicked and a failure. It entreats, by its leaders, the interference of British influence, and it receives British sympathy, while it opposes the draft. And when you ask them how the President can send men to the Generals if men are not raised, they reply that it is no wonder he can not raise them for such a wicked war.

But these frantic efforts are vain. The profound confidence of the great mass of the people in the President is unshaken. It is simply impossible to make them believe, after their experience of his patient fidelity to the Union, that he is a monstrous despot or a political gambler. The American people, we are very sure, are firmly persuaded that Mr. VALLANDIGHAM does not love the Union more than Mr. LINCOLN ; that Mr. WOOD is not truer to popular rights ; nor Governor SEYMOUR, whose "friends" are the riotous violators of the public peace and the mad assassins of the poor and defenseless, more faithful to the Constitution than the President of the United States. The conservative power and influence of pure and lofty personal character, in a time of great national peril, was never more signally illustrated than in the official career of ABRAHAM LINCOLN.


THE London Times bursts into a shout of enthusiastic delight at the nomination of McClellan and PENDLETON, and the principles which they have been selected to represent.

We have always insisted, says the Times, that the North could not subdue the South, and the proof is the Chicago Convention and its nominations.

After three years of tremendous effort the Americans confess themselves conquered, shouts the Times, and the proof is the Chicago Convention and its nominations.

They are forced to try to conciliate and compromise, sneers the Times, and the proof is that the Chicago Convention has nominated a General who first discovered that his countrymen were whipped.

But can they coax the South back again ? asks the Times. No, it is simply impossible, replies the Times, to its own question; victors are not in the habit of receiving terms from the vanquished. Conquerors dictate their own terms, says the Times, and the Southern leaders are not such fools as to relinquish what they have proved their ability to hold.

We understand, says the Times, the Chicago talk about Union. It is a tub to the whale. We do not wonder the Convention shrank from

blurting out the truth that the South must go free. But that is the meaning of the platform and the nominations. The Chicago leaders know that what they confess can not be done by force will not be accomplished by persuasion. Palaver must always precede, not follow, powder. The United States of America are gone, exults the Times. They have split, scattered, and sunk to the bottom. We always knew they would. They were an insolent, upstart republic, menacing British ideas. Their success would have taken from us our commercial sceptre. It would have been a fatal blow at our precious aristocratic system. It would have stimulated the hopes of our poorest classes, and have made them suspect that they were not born to starve. It would have encouraged the laboring man every where. Thank Heaven that danger is past. The United States have tumbled to pieces, and are gone utterly to ruin and destruction. Laus Deo! Hurrah for McClellan and PENDLETON !

Here are the two flanks of the Chicago movement. First, the rebel papers and orators had already told us that their only hope for success lay in the Convention and its action ; and now our bitterest and most malignant foreign enemies are perfectly satisfied with the Chicago proceedings.

Two years ago the men who control he Chicago party, and who have now made its platform and nominations, went to the British minister and asked for British interference in our war. The honor of the country is something unknown to them. To secure their return to political power they would humble the United States at the feet of England or LOUIS NAPOLEON. They would allow the Union to be dissolved, according to their candidate, Mr. PENDLETON, who says we have no right or power to help ourselves. They would yield the authority of the Government to a rebellion, and confess its over throw by treason. They would make the name of the United States a by word of contempt. And therefore the rebels look to them as their last hope and therefore the English Tories and all our foreign enemies cheer for their platform and candidates.

Is that a cheer in which the faithful American citizen—civilian, soldier, or sailor—can unite? Are the cause and the candidates which are acceptable to rebels at home and to enemies abroad the cause and the candidates of the true American people?


THAT the whole Chicago movement is, what the London Times calls it, a proposition to surrender to the rebellion, and to make peace upon such terms as the rebels will grant, is perfectly understood by the great mass of intelligent voters. But there are some who still honestly think that as Union men they can as properly vote for the Chicago nominations as for LINCOLN and JOHNSON.

Now such men will not deny what Mr. PENDLETON frankly avows, that whenever any State is dissatisfied and wishes to leave the Union she ought to be allowed to go. In other words, that the Union exists at the pleasure of any single State, and is therefore just as strong as Delaware and no stronger, and that the credit of the Union is measured by that of the smallest State in it. In Mr. PENDLETON'S view we are a league of thirty-five sovereign powers, no one of which has any authority over any other ; and the duty of a citizen of the League to its Government may be absolved at any moment by the State in which he lives. Will any Union man seriously say that if these views are correct there is, in any true view, a Government of the United States, or a Union in any national sense ?

Yet these are the honest opinions of Mr. PENDLETON, who consequently and logically holds that the war is a crime, and he has therefore always consistently spoken against it, and voted against it. How then can any man, who seriously believes that the Union can and ought to be maintained against all armed attack, honestly vote for Mr. PENDLETON when he knows his position ?

For the purposes of the election General McClellan and Mr. PENDLETON are one. You can not vote for one without the other. And why do they stand together? Simply because the men who made the platform, and who would, if the Chicago ticket were successful, control the policy of the party, agree with Mr. PENDLETON; and being sure of him, of the platform, and of the great body of the voters, are cunning enough to shake General McClellan in the eyes of Union men as a decoy.

But would any such Union man as we speak of and to, believe that this paper were thoroughly and in good faith devoted to the Union if it supported a ticket composed of ABRAHAM LINCOLN for President and of VALLANDIGHAM for Vice-President ? Would such a man not at once say : " If Mr. LINCOLN were a true Union man he could not accept the nomination of men who call for surrender to rebels, and who nominate VALLANDIGHAM as his substitute in case of death."

What he would justly say to us we say to him. The antecedents of the men who have nominated McClellan—their openly expressed views at the Convention their platform, which

is the official manifesto of the party—their candidate for the Vice-Presidency, a frank disunionist and partisan of absolute State sovereignty —McClellan's acceptance of their nomination and of his fellow nominee, without a word of dissent from the principles announced or the least censure of the humiliating policy proposed all these things combined must prove to every fair minded man that when he votes for the McClellan-PENDLETON electors he votes to commit the country and the Union to the men who made the Chicago platform, for whose success the rebels pray, and in the hope of whose triumph every foreign foe of the American Union rejoices.


IN " Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove," a little work by WILLIAM BAXTER, an Arkansas refugee, sold by him in Cincinnati, and sent upon receipt of a dollar, we have another tale of the terrible sufferings of the Union men at the South.

In the plain talks of Mr. F. W. SUMNER, of Texas, describing his personal experience, we have another of the revolting and heart sickening scenes of the same tragedy.

No speeches or documents seem to us so searching and persuasive as such books and talks. They reveal the true spirit of the society which has generated this rebellion. They show how utterly human nature is imbruted by slavery. The one condition of personal quiet in the Slave States, as we have all long known, was a loud assertion that nothing was so divine and humane as chattel slavery. When the war began it was assumed that, as secession took place in the interest of slavery, whoever was true to the Union was false to slavery. To betray the least regard for the country, therefore to be suspected even of a secret love for it was the chiefest of crimes, visited with the promptest penalty of death.

The terrorism of the French Revolution, the daily calling of the roll of victims at the Conciergerie and Temple, the universal dread and desolation, were not more appalling than the wholesale slaughter of Southern Unionists. Mr. SUMNER tells us of his best neighbors hung in groups; of the assassins who, dressing in women's clothes, dragged a woman suspected of fidelity to the Union away from her home and her children, and hung her upon a neighboring tree, while her little children shrieked all day beneath her corpse. Mr. SUMNER himself, flying by night, was overtaken, and for ten months was confined in a cage twelve feet square.

His testimony is that of one out of a thousand witnesses. Men and women of every position in life, who knew the condition of the slaveholding society before the war, find their experience confirmed by these sad and suffering witnesses. Honor and humanity die in the heart of a people who will tolerate among them no one who is not an abject devotee of their brutal deity. And it is to such men these murderers of our fellow citizens who dare to love their country, who hang innocent women before their children's eyes, and who are fighting for an indefinite expansion of the system which degrades them—that the Chicago leaders propose that the victorious American people shall surrender by voting for McClellan and PENDLETON.

The " Conservatives" who burn orphan asylums, and massacre men, women, and children because they are poor and friendless, will naturally vote for the candidates of the policy which proposes to let the assassins of Union women dictate the terms of Union. But every brave and generous citizen, every man who is true to the Union and its Government, will vote and work for the policy which proposes by force of arms to reduce these criminals to entire obedience to the Government and to the penalty of the law.


Mr. C. GODFREY GUNTHER is an ardent supporter of the Chicago Platform. He also presided at the McClellan-PENDLETON meeting in Union Square. He is also Mayor of the City of New York. But when it is proposed that American citizens shall illuminate their houses in honor of glorious victories over the national enemies lately won by American soldiers and sailors, this warm supporter of McClellan and PENDLETON forbids it.

Some of the Copperhead journals are alarmed. They think that if Presidents of their meetings refuse to rejoice over Union victories it will be suspected that the Chicago party is indifferent to the Union. So they blame Mayor GUNTHER a little. But it is useless. It is easy enough to repudiate DOGBERRY and laugh at him. But the unlucky truth, which can not be repudiated or concealed, is just this—that every man who, with Mayor GUNTHER, hates to hear of Union victories ; who, with Mayor GUNTHER, believes the war to be a failure ; who, with Mayor GUNTHER, thinks that we ought to have an immediate cessation of hostilities; who, with Mayor GUNTHER, wishes to compromise with armed rebels ; who, with Mayor GUNTHER, thinks that the Government of the United States ought to surrender to the rebellion every such man intends,

with Mayor GUNTHER, to vote for Mr. PENDLETON and General McClellan.

Mayor GUNTHER is one of the men who, in the words of the London Times, " blurt out" exactly what his party means.


THE effect of the late Union victories upon the prospects of the McCLELLAN-PENDLETON nominations are accurately described in the New York correspondence of the London Herald. The foreign enemies of the United States agree with the Copperheads and Mayor GUNTHER, the President of the McClellan-PENDLETON ratification meeting, that the successes of GRANT and SHERIDAN, of FARRAGUT and SHERMAN, are not matters of rejoicing. Are these persons, who regret the victories won by the valor of United States soldiers and sailors, those to whom the United States Government can safely be intrusted ? The correspondent of the London Herald says :

"There is no doubt that the friends of General McClellan, recently nominated for the Presidency, regard the late Federal successes as downright disaster.....Hence the Democrats make no secret of their discouragement and dismay at these chance evidences of vitality in the Union armies.


WE publish today, in Mr. NAST'S illustration of the Chicago Platform, one of the most overwhelming and convincing speeches that can be made for the Union and its standard-bearers LINCOLN and JOHNSON. It represents the exact meaning of the Chicago resolutions, of which General McClellan and Mr. PENDLETON are the official representatives. It reveals the secret and express tendency of the whole policy of the party of surrender to rebellion, and compromise with treason. We do not undertake to describe or explain the picture, but we commend it to the thoughtful study of every patriot in the land.

We again suggest to Union committees and clubs that they can circulate no documents more effective than the series of political pictures and caricatures which have appeared in the late numbers of this paper. They can either procure quantities of the paper itself, or they can be furnished with electrotypes of the pictures to be printed and issued as they choose. Our hope and our purpose are simply to serve the cause of the Union, which is that of the country ; for we believe with the old Continental Congress that the cause of the United States is the cause of human nature.


FOUR years ago there was a Mayor of the city of New York who regretted to ROBERT TOOMBS, one of the rebel chiefs, that he could not send him arms with which to kill loyal American citizens in battle.

ROBERT TOOMBS and his associates, having fought those citizens for four years, have been vanquished in a series of brilliant battles on sea and land, and another Mayor of New York refuses to rejoice in the national success.

The first named Mayor was the Honorable FERNANDO WOOD ; the second is the Honorable C. GODFREY GUNTHER. They are both "representative men," and both warmly support the Chicago Platform and advocate the McClellan-PENDLETON nomination.

Are they the file leaders whom the men who win the victories, and those who rejoice over them, are likely to choose?


THIS famous African explorer and discoverer of the source of the Nile, whose Journal of his Expedition was lately published, and has taken place among the most interesting works of African travel, has suddenly and most sadly been the means of his own death. The local paper in England gives the following account of the circumstances :

"He had gone down to Bath to attend the meeting of the British Association, where his presence was expected with an eager interest. On Thursday morning he went out to shoot. In forcing a way through a hedge, with his gun upon his arm, the piece was touched by the twigs. It exploded, and the charge went through his heart, causing instantaneous death. How strangely sad that a man who had seen and done so much, who had undergone and over come so many perils of journeyings, of waters, of robbers, should come home to end his career thus miserably;"


WE thank a discharged soldier in Vicksburg, who sends us his name, and asks us to refute a slander which he incloses, for his kind regard for our good fame. But he must be satisfied to know that it is a slander. For we are too busily engaged in defending the country and civil order from the blows aimed at them, to have any time or wish to repel those intended for us. Our correspondent says that the slander is taken from one of the Copperhead papers,

"That tickle the minds of the rebels, disgust all loyal men, and raise the d—l generally; that go in for VALLANDIGHAM, McClellan, and giving the South what even they have not had the impudence to ask for after the events of the last three years."

So we supposed; and the source of the slander shows its worth.




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