Monthly Record of Current Events, October 4.
As an indication of the prevailing state of sentiment we give at some length the avowed position of the two great parties in the State of New York, as set forth in the formal action of their respective State Conventions:
In New York the November election is for Secretary of State, Comptroller, State Engineer, Canal Commissioner, Treasurer, Attorney-General, Prison Inspector, Members of the Legislature, and several judicial officers. The "Democratic" Convention assembled at Albany on the 6th of September. The "Union" Convention met at Syracuse on the 22d of September. The "Platform" of the Democratic Convention is embodied in a series of nine Resolutions; that of the Union Convention in
803thirteen. We present the leading features of these platforms, arranged as nearly as possible in parallel paragraphs, following the order of the Democratic platform, which was first presented. The figures denote the numbers of the respective resolutions. In both cases we quote textually the important parts.
3. Congratulates the people upon the termination of the civil war, especially as this has been attained with a preserved Union, an undivided country, and the reassertion of constitutional liberty throughout the land.
3. Demands the subordination of military to civil rule, the restitution of the authority of the courts, and the recognition of the equality of the States; denounces "all efforts, either by prolonging military rule or by denying the right of representation to States, in order to compel them to adopt negro equality or negro suffrage as an element of their Constitutions, as tending to delay and prevent the pacification of the country, and to subvert the principles of the Government, and endanger the liberties of the people."
4. Approves "the plan of President Johnson for the speedy restoration of the States lately in rebellion to their old positions, by commencing the work of reorganization at the point of secession, and confiding it to those then recognized as electors by the laws of the respective States, leaving the question of suffrage, where the Constitution places it, to the future action of the several States:" and "pledges to the President a cordial and energetic support."
5. Recognizes "the obligation by which the whole resources of the country are pledged to the payment of the public debt;" and urges "that all Constitutional and legal means should be taken to compel the whole property of the country, real and personal, to share in the public burdens, believing that equality of taxation is not only public equity, but also the soundest possible basis for public credit."
6. Declares that "the thanks and gratitude of the people are due to the soldiers and sailors of the nation and to their brave commanders, whose deeds elevate the fame of the people."
7. Indorses the "Monroe Doctrine," as "a policy which has preserved peace and avoided foreign entanglements, and can not be abandoned without dishonor to us as a power among nations, nor without danger to Democratic institutions."
8. Declares that "the frank and generous acceptance by the Southern people of the condition in which they have been left by the recent war, including the abandonment of slavery," removes all difficulties in the way of harmony, and should be met by the Federal Government in a spirit of conciliation and kindness.
9. Resolves that banishing all minor party considerations, the Democratic party "cordially support President Johnson in the policy which he has avowed to enable the States lately in revolt to put their governments in practical operation, and in all such Constitutional measures as he may inaugurate to harmonize the country and restore and cement the Union of the States."
1. Congratulates the people upon the overthrow of the rebellion, and finds, in the "preservation of the Union, the re-establishment of the national authority, and the extirpation of slavery, ample recompense for the sufferings and sacrifices by which these results have been achieved."
6. "The restoration of peace will enable the Government to restore the civil tribunals of the country to their just and national supremacy; and we have full and entire confidence that this will be done as soon as the safety of the nation will permit, and no sooner."
5. The States have jurisdiction over local and domestic affairs reserved to them by the Constitution; but when the exercise of these trusts shall be restored to the States lately in rebellion, they should be exercised "with a view to the elevation and perpetuation of the full rights of citizenship of all their people."
4. Approves "the initial steps which President Johnson has taken toward relaxing the bonds of military authority in the Southern States, and in restoring to the people full and complete control over their local affairs as soon as may be found compatible with the preservation of order, the maintenance of peace, the exclusion of slavery, and the fulfillment of the constitutional obligations of the national authority to guarantee to every State a republican form of government;" and pledges him a cordial support.
7. The National Debt is a sacred and inviolable obligation, resting upon all the property and resources of the country; and the burden of it should be placed equally and impartially upon all classes: but under no circumstances should the Government "assume, directly or indirectly, any portion of the debts incurred by rebel authorities in prosecution of the war against the United States."
2. Thanks "the soldiers and sailors of all ranks and in all departments;" and urges that "adequate provision be made by the national authorities for the support and comfort of such of their survivors as have received honorable and disabling wounds in the service of their country."
9. Expresses entire confidence in the conduct by President Johnson of our foreign relations; especially "in maintaining the fixed policy of our Government, by which the interference of foreign powers with the institutions of this continent is regarded as hostile to our peace and menacing to our independence."
4. Also approves the sentiments of kindness and confidence which the President "has evinced toward those of the communities and individuals lately in rebellion who accept the perpetuity of the Union and the perpetual prohibition of slavery as the legitimate and irrevocable results of the war;" and looks forward to the restoration of concord and harmony between the North and the South.
3. Deplores the death of Lincoln, and recognizes in President Johnson "a statesman of ability, experience, high-toned patriotism, and unsullied integrity," whose services to the Union command the respect of the American people; and "renews to him in his Administration those assurances of cordial and effective support which were tendered by us in his nomination and election."
The Union platform also contains a Resolution demanding "as prompt and as large a reduction of the national expenditures as the national safety will permit; an abolition of all sinecures, and a wise and economical administration of public affairs." Another Resolution calls upon the people to select as candidates none but men of known integrity of character. Another congratulates Mr, Seward upon his escape from assassination, and "rejoices that his distinguished services may still be continued to the nation and the cause of liberty." Another indorses the administration of Governor Fenton, pledging to it a cordial and hearty support. Besides the construction of the platforms much important business was to be transacted by both Conventions. The essential object in both was to present candidates for the principal offices whose personal and political antecedents might be expected to secure the full vote of the respective parties. — The following are the candidates for State offices nominated by the two Conventions.
|Secretary of State.|
|Henry W. Slocum.||Francis C. Barlow.|
|Lucius Robinson.||Thomas H. Hillhouse.|
|Sylvanus H. Sweet.||J. Platt Goodsell.|
|Cornelius W. Armstrong.||Robert E. Dorn.|
|Marsena K. Patrick.||Charles J. Howland.|
|John Van Buren.||John H. Martindale.|
|Andrew J.M'Nett.||Henry A. Barnum.|
The platforms of the two Conventions, differ very little in purport, although some points are in each brought out more strongly than in the other. Either
804party could adopt the principles avowed by the other. The candidates on both sides have been carefully selected, and are probably without exception personally unobjectionable. The office of Secretary of State is the most important one to be filled at this election, and for it each party has nominated a strong candidate. General Slocum, the Democratic nominee, is a graduate of West Point. After serving in Florida he left the army and studied law. On the breaking out of the rebellion he re-entered the army as Colonel of the Twenty-seventh New York Volunteers. He was soon raised to the rank of Brigadier-General, commanding a division on the Peninsula and at Antietam. At Chancellorsville he commanded the right wing, consisting of three corps. In 1864 he was sent West, with the Twelfth Corps, and when Hooker resigned the command of the Twentieth Corps, Slocum was appointed to succeed him. He commanded the right wing of Sherman's army during the Great March. His military and personal record is of the highest character. — General Barlow, the Union nominee, entered as a private in a New York regiment at the opening of the war. He was soon promoted to the rank of Colonel, and distinguished himself at the battle of Fair Oaks. At Antietam he was wounded and left for dead upon the field. Recovering he returned to the field with the rank of Brigadier-General. At Gettysburg he was again fearfully wounded, and fell into the hands of the enemy, but was recaptured. Again recovering, he commanded a division in Hancock's Second Corps at the opening of the last campaign. In the battle of the Wilderness he captured the entire division of General Edward Johnson, three thousand strong. So eminent were his services through the whole of this campaign that he was promoted to the rank of Major-General on the special recommendation of General Grant. — With avowed principles on either side so nearly identical, and with leading candidates on each side possessing such high claims, the contest in New York is really a trial of the course of the late National Administration. If the Union party succeeds, it will amount to a verdict by the State of New York in favor of the general policy which resulted in the re-election of Mr. Lincoln and the election of Mr. Johnson. If the Democratic party succeeds, it will be a verdict of the State in favor of the Chicago platform and the State Administration of Governor Seymour.
The Convention of South Carolina met at Columbia on the 13th of September. The prevailing tone of the body was evinced at the outset. A resolution was introduced by Mr. Aldrich that
"Under the present extraordinary circumstances it is both wise and politic to accept the condition in which we are placed; to endure patiently the evils which we can not avert or correct; and to await calmly the time and opportunity to effect our deliverance from unconstitutional rule."
The purport of the resolution, as explained by the mover, was that they should be quiet until they were strong enough, through the aid of the Democratic party of the North, to get a constitutional government. The resolution was laid on the table by an almost unanimous vote. Ex-Governor Pickens, in seconding the motion to lay on the table, said it did not become South Carolina to bluster now. Next day an ordinance was passed by a vote of 105 to 3, repealing the ordinance of secession. Then resolutions were introduced declaring that
"Whereas, by the fortunes of war our noble and beloved Chief Magistrate, Jefferson Davis, is now languishing in prison, awaiting his trial for treason; and whereas the fanatics of the North, not satisfied with the ide-spread ruin and desolation which they have caused are shrieking for his blood;" it was the duty of the State to do all it could to avert this doom, and therefore a committee should be appointed to proceed to Washington and urge the President "to extend to the Hon. Jefferson Davis that clemency which he has shown to us who are equally the sharers of his guilt, if guilt there be."
For this was substituted a resolution appointing a committee to memorialize the President to pardon Davis, Stephens, Magrath, and Trenholm. A series of resolutions was then introduced, commencing with a preamble, to the effect that the questions in dispute having been twice settled — once by the ballot and once by the sword — the people of South Carolina accepted as the result of the war the following among other enumerated principles, and would henceforth sustain, them faithfully as a national policy:
"The Union is the first and paramount consideration of the American people. — Sovereignty, a unit absolute and individual, which in all nations must exist somewhere, resides in the American people; and its authorized representative within the limits of the organic law — the Constitution — is the Federal Government. — The late war was not one of an oppressed people against tyranny; but arose from the apprehension on the part of the weaker section of tyranny in the future;" and was carried on under the conviction that any State had a right to accede. It was not, therefore, a rebellion or insurrection, and it was suggested that it would be wise and just in the President not to enforce the penalties affixed to these crimes by the laws of the United States. — " We indorse the acts of President Johnson's Administration, and will cordially support its wise and patriotic efforts to restore to the whole country the blessings of peace."
It does not appear from the published reports that any definite action was taken upon this series of resolutions; but the course of the Convention indicates that that body wished them to be considered as expressing its views. The vital question before the Convention was the action to be taken upon the subject of slavery. The ordinance upon this subject, as originally reported by the committee, declared that "slavery having boon actually destroyed by the military force of the United States," it no longer existed in South Carolina, and should not be re-established; but "the General Assembly may adjudge involuntary servitude as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." This was finally amended so as to read:
"The slaves in South Carolina having been emancipated by the action of the United states authorities, neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall ever be re-establislied in this State."
In this form the ordinance was passed on the 19th of September. It will be seen that the act of abolition is attributed to the authorities of the United States, with the implication that it was contrary to the wishes of the people of South Carolina. The Convention also made provision for an entire remodeling and popularizing of the Constitution of the State; equalizing representation and taxation; giving to the people the right to choose the Governor and Presidential electors, and dividing the State into separate Congressional districts. Heretofore the Governor and Presidential electors were chosen by the General Assembly, and members of Congress elected by general ticket. — Hon. James L. Orr, formerly member of the United States Congress, and afterward of the Confederate Senate, has been nominated for Governor.
The Alabama Convention met on the 12th of
805September and adjourned on the 30th. The reports of its action are meagre. Its principal acts are: Repealing the ordinance of secession; declaring the debts incurred by the rebel authorities void, and forbidding the Legislature to recognize or make provision for paying any part of them; recognizing the abolition of slavery, and forbidding its re-establishment (by a vote of 89 to 3); and establishing the right of negroes to bear testimony in courts in cases between themselves and between whites and negroes. — Governor Parsons, in a Message, dated September 21, gives an unfavorable account of the finances of the State. There was in the treasury a nominal sum of $791,000, but of this about $780,000 was in Confederate and State notes, which are of no value; there was about $1400 in specie and banknotes; the balance consisting of "Notes of the State Bank and its branches." He also states that at the close of the war "the State was furnishing meal and salt to 38,772 destitute families, the individual members of which numbered 139,042;" if, as is probable, these were all whites, nearly one-fourth of the entire white population then living were receiving food from the State authorities. The Governor urges that the present number of these destitute families should be ascertained, and "their real and imperative wants known and provided for at the earliest moment."
In Vermont and Maine the State elections have resulted in the success of the Union party by majorities considerably increased in proportion to the votes cast. — In Connecticut a vote was taken on the 2d of October upon a proposed amendment to the Constitution extending the right of voting to negroes; the amendment was rejected by a majority of about 6000.
The following is a statement of the National Debt on the 30th of September, compared with its amount at the close of the preceding month:
|Total Debt, Aug. 31||$2,757,689,571||$138,031,620|
|Total Debt, Sept. 30||2,744,947,726||137,529,216|
The debt bearing interest in gold has increased $8,368,000; that bearing interest in currency has decreased $14,469,000; that free of interest has decreased $6,640,000. The interest payable in gold has increased about $500,00; that payable in currency has decreased about $503,000.
The war which has for some months been waged on the River Plata, between Paraguay on the one side, and Brazil, the Argentine Confederation, and Uruguay on the other, has assumed a magnitude quite unprecedented in South American feuds. The parties are apparently most unequally matched. Paraguay has a population variously estimated at from 500,000 to 1,000,000. Brazil has probably about 8,000,000; the Argentine Confederation and Uruguay about 1,500,000. Cut Lopez, the Dictator of Paraguay, wields the entire personal and material force of the country, and keeps on foot an army of some 60,000 men. The allies may be able to put on paper twice or three times as many. But Lopez has the advantage of position: he can be effectively assailed only by the River Parana, the main branch of the Plata. This river, in its lower course, passes through the Argentine Confederation; in its middle course bounds Paraguay; while its upper course penetrates far into the Brazilian provinces. The point of the war is to secure the free navigation of this great river, which has been closed by Lopez. Of the various encounters which have thus far marked the war, the principal was a naval action in June, in which the Paraguayan fleet was destroyed near Corrientes. This disaster seems to have produced no decided result upon the contest. At the latest advices each party had about 50,000 men confronting each other at various points near the river.
During the summer and early autumn the cholera has made fearful ravages in certain parts of the Levant. It has been especially destructive in Egypt, Constantinople, in some parts of Italy and Spain, and in some French sea-ports. Thus far its ravages have been confined to places immediately on the shores of the Mediterranean; the main exception being that it ascended the Nile from Alexandria to Cairo.