« PrejšnjaNaprej »
for the favourite of the combination, if combination has indeed been made. There are excited and hurried consultations among Blaine's young brigadiers-and a fine lot of active fellows he has on the floor-while there is collusion and consultation between such representatives of belles lettres as G. W. C. and L., whose hand C. takes with no apparent consciousness that it is ungloved and black. S. B. D. loses his temper, gesticulates, threatens, bullies, rushes around like an angry steer, defies Chair and sergeant and mace and the Lord himself, if necessary, to rescue his friend from the ruin rapidly approaching. The scene is one of intrigue, bargaining, and purchasing. It is everywhere mouth to ear, with significant nods or shakes; here a pale group hoarsely discusses their chances, there the aged H. is whispering to a frowsy Senegambian, while mingling everywhere are whites, blacks, browns, and cinnamons, as happy in each other's companionship as young bears in cages at a menagerie. The gavel raps, raps, raps, raps. As well beat the air with a feather. Until the bargains are made and the treaty completed there can be no progress. At last the ballot is announced; Blaine, 375; Arthur, 274. No dark horse; no third. The plume is waving on high and the Arthurian reign is over.
"Then a scene discreditable and all but violent ensues. The field is up against the favourite. If a recess can be had such combinations may be made as will down the Knight, and it is a matter of indifference who is taken up. Away with them all. Only slay the man an that the masses of the Republican party have in three successive conventions sought to nominate-for good or ill; who has had no patronage, no organization, no claims except such as great personality arouse, and who is at last apparently within easy reach, but still desperately distant from the greatest victory a Republican can achieve-the nomination for President of the United States. For half an hour all the spirits of noise, anger, disdain, frenzy, despair, are let loose.
"When the storm is raging at its height, the Chair paralyzed, the thousands of guests screaming, yelling, no delegation seated, most of the people mounted on their chairs, and all vociferous; when all the resources of the machinery of the convention have been utterly exhausted, and nothing remains in behalf of peace or tranquillity, the smooth, kindly face and stalwart form of Stephen B. Elkins, Blaine's confidential manager, is seen over the edge of the platform. He waves a small, well-shaped hand gently for a
moment, and lo! as if Canute had found the sea obedient, the Blaine men drop into their seats, wipe their brows and puff out their short breath to make room for easy breathing. The storm is over. M., acting with great tact for Blaine, acts on Elkins' diplomatic suggestion, and, with a brief and clear speech with a cheer in its final phrase, advises Blaine's friends to waive all technicalities, let the roll of States be called on the motion to take a recess, and,' he cried, with ascending pitch and swelling tone, rich with the sense of victory already achieved, and vote it down!'
"Vote it down they did, and in a trice, while the field remains demoralized, without generals or following, the third ballot is taken. The day is won. The stampede begins. The Logan column precipitates a full run into the Blaine camp. In another half hour the whole multitude is crazy with rapture, for the multitude was for Blaine, honestly and loyally all the time, and the scene which follows the formal declaration of his nomination with 520 votes was one of sheer ecstasy. Transparencies, one with a great rooster from Kansas, were paraded up and down the aisles. A great black eagle is borne up and down, and the rooster and the eagle have a crow together when they meet in the march, while all the time the air is full of shouting and the blatant band adds to the confusion, for that shouting mass would drown the howl of a forest. The ebb comes; adjournment is taken until evening.
"On reassembling the nomination of John A. Logan for second place on the ticket is found to be a foregone conclusion. A great many very bad speeches are made, and there is a shy and pensive disposition on the part of Massachusetts and New York to intimate that for one day they have really had to take a considerable quantity of acid diet; and if the convention of the great party of purity, progress, piety, principle, probity, property, etc., would at least give them a Vice-President who would be a little less objectionable than the President it had nominated they would be very much obliged for the small favour. With fan covering one eye and an eye-glass on the other, the dilettanti minority archly but sadly hints that Gresham or Lincoln would suit her better. But the party
of the people, the party of poverty, the party of pluck, the party of patriotism, the party of philanthropy, the party of pensions, the party in which the peasant is the peer of the prince-delights in snubbing the pharisaic minority. When Mr. C. states pensively that New York wants time to make up her mind and count up her
votes, a delegate calls out, 'Let her go home,' and nobody offers her any serious objection. She counts it up in due time; and, although with the solitary exception of a merely capricious vote for Fairchild, every other State and every Territory in the United States has cast its solid ballot for Black Jack, who will put into the campaign a terrific roar, New York has the impertinence to drop her courtesy in mock deference, draw her ample skirts aside and go out of the convention, leaving her compliments, to a slight extent, for Gresham and Lincoln. Then the nomination of Logan goes through with a whoop, and the work is done.
""Lord! What fools these mortals be.' Yet Puck was never at a political convention. Is there something in the atmosphere of such a place that robs reason of her faculty and transforms humans into some other species?
"Look at that man who has taken off his coat on the announcement of the ballot nominating Blaine. He is standing in the very blaze of the hot afternoon sun streaming through the windows. He has tied a red silk handkerchief around the top of his umbrella and secured his hand to the handle; and there he is, waving the ridiculous and meaningless combination with all the muscular power he possesses. He never exercised half as much energy in any useful cause. That woman has fastened her blue veil on the top of her husband's walking-stick, and, having mounted her chair, is bobbing it up in air and bringing it down spirally, and doing this for five or ten minutes without consciousness of its absurdity, although it may not be clear to her that she is thus promoting the election of James G. Blaine, for she evidently forgets that all women are in the condition of the Territories who were so enthusiastic for Blaine four years ago, and had their young zeal snubbed by the sarcastic Roscoe [Conkling], who reminded them that They have no votes.' The woman near by, who is old enough to know better, is singing the 'Sweet by and by,' and alternating it with 'Jerusalem's my happy home.' The boy is pounding the floor with a piece of scantling he has broken off a partition. The other boy has a bird whistle, and is running opposition to the steam tugs that seem to have heard Blaine is nominated, and seem to know that Logan is going to be, and, recognizing kindred accomplishments, have already begun the celebration.
"Those men are tearing down the state shields, and are going
to fasten them on their swelling bosom and march up and down the aisles; there they go. These men are engaged on a wager to see how high they can throw their hats. That young lady is crying real tears because Blaine is nominated, and for her sweet life she does not know what interest she has in the nomination, anyhow. In fact, it seems to be the non-voters that constitute the muscle and sinew of the campaign racketry-a word made indispensable by political conventions. All the time that we have been observing these trifles 10,000 sane persons have been continuously howling, shrieking, singing, snorting, clapping their hands, stamping their feet, waving their hats, waving their bonnets by their long strings, dancing in the irregular, accented way peculiar to savages and semicivilized communities, and they appear to think that all this is a demonstration in support of our free institutions. Now a few thousand people cry 'Sdown, sdown!' which undoubtedly means 'sit down,' but that only makes the rest crazier. The hoot goes up
in pitch, thickens in volume, and the familiar tiger is introduced. The 'hi, hi' which is exasperating in the extreme except to devotees of Wagner, who naturally admire irregular musical forms, is also introduced, and is taken up and repeated like small chainlightning from east to west on a summer evening. Here is a man who cannot 'Hi, hi!' So he forms his lips into an O, and utters a monotone Coo, coo,' as if he thinks he is a mechanical cuckoo in a Swiss clock. There are at least a hundred dismal black umbrellas open and waving; yet we are under roof, and there is not a drop of rain. One umbrella has just turned inside out and performed hari-kari upon its own poor ribs, instead of, for justice's sake, upon those of its proprietor. The fat woman has lifted the little girl on the shoulders of a slim young man, and the child has put her hands together, and is saying, in a high, shrill key, 'God bless James G. Blaine; God bless James G. Blaine,' and we all wonder what for.
"Now a floral helmet, with a beautiful snowy plume of the finest imported horse-hair, is produced at the Chairman's desk, and the whole house goes simply wild. It is a happy thought, that it is.
"Now the din has grown perfectly infernal, just because somebody tried to stop it; and Good gracious, sir, will you kindly omit to knock a fellow's head off with your bootjack? That's what he brought to support our free institutions. He was 'shinin 'em up' out in the street, and has climbed in through a window, and is now
waving that deadly weapon over his head as if it were the banner Excelsior carried up the Alps. All this racketry has been going by the watch for seven minutes, for a week by one's lacerated ears; and all because James G. Blaine is nominated for President. At this moment there is not the slightest indication that it will ever stop. "But it is nothing to the racket there will be all over the United States before he is elected President.
COMMENTS ON THE CONVENTION.
"The distinguishing feature of the campaign for President is the effort of the office-holding element to secure delegates. As first shown in this paper, more than 100 holders of Federal positions from the Southern States alone appear in convention, all for Arthur. The majority of the non-office-holding delegates from the same States are selected only by sufferance of the former, who are the leaders and bosses of Republican politics. The influence of officeholding appears strong in the Administration's behalf in the North also, and it may safely be said that but for this agency, directly and indirectly, 200 of the 276 recorded for Mr. Arthur on the first ballot would have been added to the columns of other candidates.
"The immediate advisers of the President were not idle either. The work of Mr. Secretary Chandler shows up well in New Hampshire, the sole Republican State giving Arthur a majority of her votes yesterday. Mr. Commissioner Evans did his best in Kentucky. Assistant Postmaster-General Hatton worked hard though fruitlessly in Iowa. Postmaster-General Gresham himself was alert and early in Indiana, where, by smart tactics, ten Arthur delegates were secured, despite an absence of popular feeling in favour of the President's nomination.
"The reformers, independents, and conservatives of New England and New York rally about Edmunds. They gather some delegates for him, achieve a strategic victory at Utica, and then attack Mr. Blaine's reputation with an old charge. The son of neversatisfied Ohio plans a shrewd and not over-frank and creditable campaign, the while proclaiming himself not a candidate, managing at length to secure a bare majority of the delegates from his State.
"The various forces arrive at Chicago. It is soon discovered that the news we had received of Blaine's great strength with the Republican people, wherever there are Republican majorities, was