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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Pierce, Edward L. 'Edward L. Pierce (Statement for William H. Herndon)' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon683.html


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571. Edward L. Pierce (Statement for William H. Herndon).

[December 1889]

By Edward L Pierce
Milton Mass.

National Convention of 1860

I cannot add anything about this convention to what I have written in the papers sent you published in "The State" [1]

This is certain — that Mr Lincoln's nomination was perfectly assured without bargains — and if any were made, they were made in face of an inevitable result, to gain points after the election

Seward or any Republican might have been elected as the event proved.; but this did not appear so when the convention met. There was a fair chance then that the Democrats would rally and unite.

The problem was — what candidate, reliable & true, would carry the four free states lost in 1856. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana and Illinois. It was honestly felt that it was hazardous to present to them Seward or even Chase. The names left for a choice were Judge McLean, Bates [2] and Lincoln. Illinois, Penn & N.J. three of the four had "favorite sons", Lincoln, Cameron & Dayton. [3] Cameron's nomination was out of the question

The unanimous support of one of the four Indiana which had no "favorite son", put Lincoln altogether ahead of Mc Lean and Bates; and besides strong anti-slavery men had prejudices against McLean and a distrust of Bates which was not felt

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about Lincoln. When I met the Indiana delegation, or a part of it at Michigan City en route, for Chicago three days before the convention met and found them for Lincoln. I came to the conclusion that his nomination was the most probable outcome of the convention — and so wrote home to friends. Later before the convention, as I have elsewhere stated, on the request of the Massachusetts delegation to have different candidates who could carry each one of the doubtful states. Pennsylvania responded, naming three in this order 1 Cameron 2 McLean 3 Lincoln. Here were three states admitting that they could give their electoral votes for Lincoln — and the 4th New Jersey was subject to the same considerations as Pennsylvania. I do not see how the convention after this could avoid nominating Lincoln — who was a true man, obnoxious to no section — and according to testimony from the four free states lost in 1856, altogether likely to carry them.

No bargain was necessary to secure his nomination and none had any effect if it was made, to secure it. Doubtless after the election, persons who wanted to have positions and influence, did what they could to magnify them by claiming that they, for a few considerations promised gave essential support, and were now entitled to payment.

I was for Mr Lincolns nomination from my first arrival in Chicago the Saturday before the convention, acting from the considerations of policy growing out of the condition of the four states named, and believed that others who favored Mr Lincoln were governed in large numbers by the same considerations which governed myself.

"Bargain and Sale" are favorite terms among a certain order of politicians who often resort to them for explanations of results where better motives controled.

I give this summary — but I have stated the same more in detail in the papers referred to. [4]

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Pierce, Edward L. 'Edward L. Pierce (Statement for William H. Herndon)' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon683.html
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