« PrejšnjaNaprej »
a convention, nominated the party candidates for the elective offices, which are now the mayor, the aldermen (twelve chosen at large over the city), the members of the school committee, and the street commissioners. The Democratic city committee does this still ; but much dissatisfaction was caused among the Republicans by the fact that wards which had but very few Republican voters had an equal share of power in the city committee, and therefore in making nominations. (It will be seen that in organizing the national convention a similar difficulty has been encountered.) The Republican city committee has therefore ceased to make nominations, but calls upon the wards to send delegates, in proportion to their Republican vote, to a general convention for the nomination of candidates. The party lines are, however, very loosely drawn, especially in cities outside of Boston, and anybody may nominate candidates with chance of success proportional to his efforts.
In the towns as apart from the cities, the people, in primary of each party, elect a town committee which corresponds to the ward committees of the city. The town and city committees call the primaries which elect their successors; and thus the system is kept alive. The city committee may by vote modify the structure, mode of election and functions, both of itself and of the ward committees, but in the town this power lies with the caucus or primary. The above account applies to the city of Boston, but the principles are substantially the same throughout the cities of Massachusetts, the main difference being in thoroughness of organization.
2. County.—The county is much less important in New England than in any other part of the country. There are to be chosen, however, county commissioners (three in number, one retiring each year, having charge of roads, jails, houses of correction, registry of deeds, and, in part, of the courts), county treasurer, registrar of deeds, registrar of probate, district attorney, and sheriff. These candidates are nominated by party conventions of the county, called by a committee elected by the last county convention. The delegates are selected by ward and town primaries at the same time with other delegates.
3. State.— First as to representatives to State legislature, 240 in number, The State is districted as nearly as may be in proportion to population. If a ward of a city, or a single town, is entitled to a representative, the party candidate is nominated in the primary, and must be by the Constitution (of the State) a resident in the district. If two or more towns, or two or more wards send a representative in common, the candidate is nominated in cities by a joint caucus of the wards interested called by the ward and city committee, and in the towns by a convention called by a committee elected by the previous convention. The tendency in such cases is that each of these towns or wards shall have the privilege of making nomination in turn of one of its residents.
As regards senators the State is divided into forty districts. The district convention to nominate candidates is called by a committee elected by the preceding convention, and consists of delegates elected by ward and town primaries at the same time with those for State, county, and councillor conventions. Each senatorial district convention elects one member of the State central committee.
The convention for nominating members of the governor's council (eight in number) also appoints a committee to call the next convention.
The State convention consists of delegates from ward and town primaries in proportion to their party votes at last elections, and is summoned by the State central committee, consisting of forty members, elected in October by senatorial convention, and taking office on 1st January. The State committee organizes by choice of chairman, secretary, treasurer, and executive committee, who orersee the whole State campaign. The State convention nominates the party candidates for governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, attorney-general.
4. Nutional.—First, representatives to Congress. Massachusetts is entitled to twelve, and is divided into twelve districts. The convention in each district to nominate party candidates is called every two years hy a committee elected by the last convention The delegates from wards and primaries are elected at the same time with the other delegates. As United States senators are chosen by the State legislatures, no nominating convention is needed. Next are to be chosen, every four years, delegates to the National convention,--that is, under present party customs, two for each senator and representative of the State in Congress. For Massachusetts, therefore, at the present time, twenty-eight. The delegates corresponding to the representative districts are nominated by a convention in each district, called in the spring by the same committee which calls the congressional representative nominating convention in the autunn. The delegates corresponding to senators
are chosen at a general convention in the spring, called by the State central committee from wards and primaries, as always; and the twenty-eight delegates at the meeting of the National convention choose the State members of the National committee.
The National convention for nominating party candidates for President is called by a National committee, elected one member by the delegates of each State at the last National convention. The National convention (and this is true in general of all conventions) may make rules for its own procedure and election—as, for example, that all State delegates shall be chosen at large instead of by districts. At the last National convention it was complained that the delegates from the Southern States, which had scarcely any Republican vote, had just as much power in making the nomination as any Northern State. The National convention therefore instructed the National committee to report a plan for adjusting this difficulty, which the latter are now at work upon. The National committee manage the party campaign, sending money and speakers to the weaker States, issue documents, collect subscriptions, and dispense general advice.
NOTE TO CHAPTER LXX
A NEWSPAPER ACCOUNT OF THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL
NOMINATING CONVENTION OF 18841
“As early as 10 o'clock on the fourth day of the convention most of the seats were filled, and by 11, every inch of standing room, so far as any was allowed to be occupied, was taken. The windows were also filled, and men fastened themselves on the timbers that are so numerous and so unornamental along the sides of the structure. It was a tumultuous crowd, but a very good-natured one, and the noise of conversation when the Chairman struck his gavel for order was like the low roar of the sea.
“Now a man of God, with a bald head, calls the Deity down into the melée and bids him make the candidate the right one and induce the people to elect him in November; and the idea is so in harmony with the thoughts of many who believe that only by supernatural means can James G. Blaine be elected, that the low tone of the prayer, which was not much above the character of a ward speech,
1 From the Chicago Herald.
provokes general laughter from those who pay any attention to it. As soon as the farce is over a lull falls over the entire assembly and a serious mood becomes universal. Tally sheets are ready, pencils are out, the delegates who are still toiling with the weak and weakening the stubborn, hurry to their places, while the gavel keeps up its heavy staccato.
“The balloting begins. The strain of anxiety is sternest between the Blaine cohorts and the still valiant but no longer formidable following of Arthur. Every time a good vote is recorded for either there are cheers, whistlinys, waving of handkerchiefs, calls of all sorts most unearthly in their hideousness, and it is apparent that the entire ten thousand are quite as well posted about the likelihood of the vote from each state and territory as are the managers themselves. Every novelty is instantly appreciated, and is followed by a lively recognition.
6. When the vote of Arkansas is announced and it is found divided with Blaine the sibilant murmur flies, Clayton !' California's solid vote is vociferously given to the White Plume ;1 a hearty cheer ascends, and is instantly sent back with equal heartiness by the multitude outside, to whom the proceedings are being faithfully recited by the pickets straddled on the lofty window-sills. Colorado is cheered, too; and the one vote from Florida, with the one vote from Alabama previously recorded, shows that the backbone of the solid South is weakening at the very outset. A lusty Arthur cheer greets the unbroken twenty-four of Georgia. Whenever a Southern State is found divided it is greedily seized as a Blaine omen, and the solitary vote for the White Plume acknowledged by Massachusetts is accepted as a most precious sign of the indulgence of Providence. For such favour was not expected from among the pharisees.
“A pin might have been heard drop while New York is being counted, and Blaine's capture of so considerable a portion of its ballot is the occasion of gleeful folly. The same anxiety waits the confession of Ohio and Pennsylvania. All parties are highly elated when the hallot of these two great constituencies is announced. 1 muumber of the States are unable to believe that their respective chairmen are men of truth ; for they demand the roll-call, and the process is not only tedious but it generally shows that the chair
Mr. Blaine, who is commonly known as the Plumed Knight, having been once so called in an ecstatic peroration. So Mr. Logan was called the Black Eagle. man was perfectly correct. A great deal of laughter is created by the delegation of the District of Columbia. It is composed of two persons, Frank Conger and a coloured associate. Frank announces that the District of Columbia casts two votes for Arthur. The coloured man mounts his chair, challenges the accuracy of the count, and demands that the delegation be polled.
Amid unbounded laughter his name is solemnly called, he records one vote, in stentorian tones, for ‘James G. Blaine !' and this comedy is repeated on every subsequent ballot. In the final one we will find the coloured man mounting upon the chair and delivering the vote of the District of Columbia, to wit, two votes, solid for Blaine.' Then up jumps Frank Conger, challenges the count, demands the poll, and gets it with round after round of cheers, and volley after volley of laughter.
“At last the whisper of reckoning the totals absorbs the convention and the multitude. With a mighty shriek of triumph the Blaine cohorts are on the chairs, yelling and shouting; flags are waving, thousands of infernal little whistles are making the air hideous, idiots are waving open umbrellas, and at the top of the din the band snorts out something which is quickly drowned. The Arthur men are not cast down. They have hope left—and nothing more. Blaine has 334} and the President only 278_but that gap may be closed.
A second ballot is ordered, and is begun while the auditorium is full of disorder, which is destined not to subside, but to grow worse and worse until pandemonium is loose. Every change of importance is in Blaine's favour, and the yelling and whistling and all the noises known to lunacy and wicked joy become chronic. Blaine has ascended to 349 and the President loiters in the distance with only 276. The outbreak that followed the first ballot is repeated and intensified. Men become monkeys and maniacs with hope and fear, and the rushing to and fro, the whispering with mouths at delegates' ears, the clatter and shouting and shrieking are intolerable. No other candidate has become so dangerous. The contest is still between the President and Blaine of Maine. A third ballot is ordered. With difficulty and only moderate success the Chair obtains order and the call of States is proceeded with, while the excitement grows more and more keen.
“It is felt that on this ballot Arthur must recede to make room
1 Mr. Arthur was President in 1884.