Nomination Of Blaine (1876)
Robert Green Ingersoll
NOTE: The nomination of Blaine was the passionately dramatic scene of the day. Robert G. Ingersoll had been fixed upon to present Blain’s name to the Convention, and, as the result proved, a more effective champion could not have been selected in the whole party conclave.
As the clerk, running down the list, reached Maine, an extraordinary event happened. The applause and cheers which had heretofore broken out in desultory patches of the galleries and platform, broke in a simultaneous, thunderous outburst from every, part of the house.
Ingersoll moved out from the obscure corner and advanced to the central stage. As he walked forward the thundering cheers, sustained and swelling, never ceased. As he reached the platform they took on an increased volume of sound, and for ten minutes the surging fury of acclamation, the wild waving of fans, hats, and handkerchiefs transformed the scene from one of deliberation to that of a bedlam of rapturous delirium Ingersoll waited with unimpaired serenity, until he should get a chance to be heard. * * * And then began an appeal, Impassioned, artful, brilliant, and persuasive. * * * Possessed of a fine figure, a face of winning, cordial frankness, Ingersoll had half won his audience before he spoke a word. It is the attestation of every man that heard him, that so brilliant a master stroke was never uttered before a political Convention. Its effect was indescribable. The coolest-headed in the hall were stirred to the wildest expression. The adversaries of Blaine, as well as his friends, listened with unswerving, absorbed attention. Curtis sat spell-bound, his eyes and mouth wide open, his figure moving in unison to the tremendous periods that fell in a measured, exquisitely graduated flow from the Illinoisan’s smiling lips. The matchless method and manner of the man can never be imagined from the report in type. To realize the prodigious force, the inexpressible power, the irrestrainable fervor of the audience requires actual sight.
Words can do but meager justice to the wizard power of this extraordinary man. He swayed and moved and impelled and restrained and worked in all ways with the mass before him as if he possessed some key to the innermost mechanism that moves the human heart, and when he finished, his fine, frank face as calm as when he began, the overwrought thousands sank back in an exhaustion of unspeakable wonder and delight. —
Chicago Times, June 16, 1876
NOMINATION OF BLAINE
MASSACHUSETTS may be satisfied with the loyalty of Benjamin H. Bristow; so am I; but if any man nominated by this convention can not carry the State of Massachusetts, I am not satisfied with the loyalty of that State. If the nominee of this convention cannot carry the grand old Commonwealth of Massachusetts by seventy-five thousand majority, I would advise them to sell out Faneuil Hall as a Democratic headquarters. I would advise them to take from Bunker Hill that old monument of glory.
The Republicans of the United States demand as their leader in the great contest of 1876 a man of intelligence, a man of integrity, a man of well-known and approved political opinions. They demand a statesman; they demand a reformer after as well as before the election. They demand a politician in the highest, broadest and best sense — a man of superb moral courage. They demand a man acquainted with public affairs — with the wants of the people; with not only the requirements of the hour, but with the demands of the future. They demand a man broad enough to comprehend the relations of this Government to the other nations of the earth. They demand a man well versed in the powers, duties and prerogatives of each and every department of this Government. They demand a man who will sacredly preserve the financial honor of the United States; one who knows enough to know that the national debt must be paid through the prosperity of this people; one who knows enough to know that all the financial theories in the world cannot redeem a single dollar; one who knows enough to know that all the money must be made, not by law, but by labor; one who knows enough to know that the people of the United States have the industry to make the money, and the honor to pay it over just as fast as they make it.
The Republicans of the United States demand a man who knows that prosperity and resumption, when they come, must come together; that when they come, they will come hand in hand through the golden harvest fields; hand in hand by the whirling spindles and the turning wheels; hand in hand past the open furnace doors; hand in hand by the flaming forges; hand in hand by the chimneys filled with eager fire, greeted and grasped by the countless sons of toil.
This money has to be dug out of the earth. You cannot make it by passing resolutions in a political convention.
The Republicans of the United States want a man who knows that this Government should protect every citizen, at home and abroad; who knows that any government that will not defend its defenders, and protect its protectors, is a disgrace to the map of the world. They demand a man who believes in the eternal separation and divorcement of church and school. They demand a man whose political reputation is spotless as a star; but they do not demand that their candidate shall have a certificate of moral character signed by a Confederate congress. The man who has, in full, heaped and rounded measure, all these splendid qualifications, is the present grand and gallant leader of the Republican party — James G. Blaine.
Our country, crowned with the vast and marvelous achievements of its first century, asks for a man worthy of the past, and prophetic of her future; asks for a man who has the audacity of genius; asks for a man who is the grandest combination of heart, conscience and brain beneath her flag — such a man is James G. Blaine.
For the Republican host, led by this intrepid man, there can be no defeat.
This is a grand year — a year filled with recollections of the Revolution; filled with proud and tender memories of the past;. with the sacred legends of liberty — a year in which the sons of freedom will drink from the fountains of enthusiasm; a year in which the people call for the man who has preserved in Congress what our soldiers won upon the field; a year in which they call for the man who has torn from the throat of treason the tongue of slander — for the man who has snatched the mask of Democracy from the hideous face of rebellion; for the man who, like an intellectual athlete, has stood in the arena of debate and challenged all comers, and who is still a total stranger to defeat.
Like an armed warrior, like a plumed knight, James G. Blaine marched down the halls of the American Congress and threw his shining lance full and fair against the brazen foreheads of the defamers of his country and the maligners of his honor. For the Republican party to desert this gallant leader now, is as though an army should desert their general upon the field of battle.
James G. Blaine is now and has been for years the bearer of the sacred standard of the Republican party. I call it sacred, because no human being can stand beneath its folds without becoming and without remaining free.
Gentlemen of the convention, in the name of the great Republic, the only republic that ever existed upon this earth; in the name of all her defenders and of all her supporters; in the name of all her soldiers living; in the name of all her soldiers dead upon the field of battle, and in the name of those who perished in the skeleton clutch of famine at Andersonville and Libby, whose sufferings he so vividly remembers, Illinois — Illinois nominates for the next President of this country, that prince of parliamentarians — that leader of leaders — James G. Blaine.
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