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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO
From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, June 22, 1860.
Grand Republican Rally!
The Young Men Fully Aroused.
Torch-Light Procession of the Sixth Ward Lincoln Club.
Mercantile Library Hall Jammed Full.
Eloquent Speeches by Col. Nelson of Ind., and Gen. Gardenhire, of Jefferson City.
If any man heretofore doubted that St. Louis is the Gibraltar of freedom in the slave State of Missouri, or that the Republican party of this city is a most strong and powerful one, he would doubt it no longer after witnessing the turn out last night of the hosts of the best young men of St. Louis, to form a gala procession, and to give character by their presence at Mercantile Library Hall to the complete organization of the Young Men's Republican Clubs of St. Louis.
At an early hour in the evening, the large Hall began to fill; rockets were filling the air, and enlivening music from Kost's Silver Band was heard in the streets as it escorted the long torchlight procession from the Sixth Ward. Borne in advance of that procession was the large banner of the "Young Men's Lincoln and Hamlin Club," bearing the glorious motto “THE CONSTITUION AND THE UNION.” The fine transparency of the Sixth Ward Club, with its patriotic mottoes was also carried in the procession. After parading through the principal streets, joining the Carondelet delegation on its arrival by the Iron Mountain Railroad cars, and cheering and being cheered by the crowd around the illuminated Republican Headquarters at the Hotel d'Europe, the procession of near a half mile in length reached the hall about nine o'clock. The Turners, the Wide Awakes, and citizens generally gave conclusive evidence here that they were wide awake, indeed, and warmed up brim full of enthusiasm.
The President of the Young Men's L. and H. Club, Mr. Peckham, opened the meeting with some appropriate remarks, and nominated W. V. N. Bay, Esq., as Chairman for the evening. This was unanimously accepted.
Mr. Bay, in a brief but happy manner, accepted the place and tendered his thanks for the honor of presiding over so large and so useful and organization of young men's clubs. The influence they would exert, he said, would be a most beneficial one in its bearing upon the policy and character of our city and State. He knew of no better manner of aiding the establishment of pure Republican principles, or of helping the election of the able and honest standard bearer of the great Republican party of the country, the “Rail Splitter of the West,” than by the formation of such clubs as those whose inauguration was this evening celebrated. He believed the people have willed that honest old Abe Lincoln shall be the next President of the United States, and that the Vandals of Democracy who are at Washington, sucking the life blood of the Government, shall be driven from their places. He trusted the labors of the young men of St. Louis would meet with a just and ample reward. He then introduced the gentlemen who had been announced as the speakers of the evening-Col. Nelson, of Indiana, and Gen. Gardenhire, on Jefferson City.
Of these able addresses we took full notes, but owing to the lateness of the hour, we must content ourselves by giving only the briefest synopsis thereof. All who had the pleasure of hearing them were greatly pleased with the unusually brilliant eloquence of the one, and the correctness and clear, skillful, and logical argument of the other.
Mr. Nelson, who is a native of Kentucky, and now addressed an audience west of the Mississippi for the first time, took the cordiality of his reception as an honor intended to be conferred to the noble State of his adoption, Indiana. He was congratulatory of the immense audience with which a love for Republican principles had filled the magnificent hall of the young merchants. He was convinced that St. Louis contained all the requisite elements of a strong and successful party of freedom, of patriotism and of right, among which he included her Press, as surpassed by none. He gave full credit to the influence of music, such as that discoursed last night in the procession, and the vocal music in preparation by the Young Men's Club, upon the result of the elections and upon the hearts of the community. He agreed with Shakespeare that “he who had no music in his soul was fit for treason, stratagem and spoils,” or fit to be a Locofoco. He instanced the effects of David's harp upon the heart-disturbed Saul of the Israelites. Mr. Nelson's eulogy of Lincoln was an excellent one-the nomination, said he, was one worthy to be made by so great a party, for Lincoln was fully up to the Jeffersonian scale-he is honest, capable, and true to the Constitution. And just so sure as to-morrow's sun will rise, so sure will this nominee be President of the United States. And yet, the principles of this canvass are greater, and above the success of any man. Some of those questions, of mighty magnitude, were ably discussed. The outrageous extravagance of the present Administration was fully commented upon. The startling fact was stated, that more money was already expended during this Administration than sufficed to carry on our Government during the first thirty years of its history, which embraced the expensive war of 1812. Reports from Congress had shown an expenditure of some $16,000,000 on the miserable Mormon war, Buchanan being commander-in-chief of the army and navy. And when Congress, through its committee, wishes to examine into the cause of such extravagance, it is met by a protest, affirming that “the king can do no wrong.”
Mr. N. spoke of the leading questions of discussion now before the country, and proved clearly that the Republicans stood where the fathers, the patriots of the country, Washington, Jefferson, Clay and others stood on the same questions. The present Democracy were shown to stand anywhere that their Southern masters choose to make them stand-they were camel, weasel or whale, just as it suited. Their principles were hard to find at Charleston, and still more difficult at Baltimore, where the party is about disentangled, and that by the great nigger question. Mr. N. happily illustrated his remarks by an anecdote, and closed with an eloquent reference to the first sound of the slogan as heard by the Scotch girl at the siege of Lucknow-the deliverance from hunger and the sword of the Sepoys when all seemed lost and in gloom-and compared it with the sound of relief from an evil administration which is springing up from every valley and city of the land.
[NOTE: During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 in India, a British force was long besieged by native mutineers at Lucknow. The story goes that Jessie Brown, a Scottish girl hiding in the cellar of an official building, heard the bagpipes of the 78th Highlanders a full day before the relief force actually arrived.]
Mr. Gardenhire's address was a most worthy one, and we regret that a slight notice alone can be given. His compliments and advice to the young men and the fair women-many such being present-were merited and wholesome, and patriotic. Mr. G., like Mr. Nelson, also hails originally from a more Southern State-Tennessee, and was able fully and truly to speak of the evils of slavery. But still more clearly was he enabled to point out the difference between Republican principles and the precepts of the so-called Democracy of our own State, from his stand-point at Jefferson City. The tremendous applause which greeted his eulogy of our Representative, F. P. Blair, showed that the hearts of a strong and intelligent party here are with that gentleman. He called him the champion of the Republicans here-the leader of the picket guard of Freedom in the Slave States-and hence had all the power of the Democratic party in the Union brought to bear against him to accomplish his defeat. The object was to crush out Republicanism in the Slave States-to show to men therein that they should not and dare not open their mouths on the subject of freedom. Nothing, said he, would more tend to crush out Republicanism here than the defeat of Mr. Blair. The great principle of the right of suffrage and the purity of the ballot-box was also at stake; and he, with thousands more in the interior, trusted both this principle and Republicanism would e upheld by the people sustaining Mr. Blair. Had Judge Bates been chosen as President of the United States, it would have been worth millions to Missouri. So too, if Lincoln be elected, as he believed he would, Missouri would gain, by the stimulus given to emigration to her borders, a hundred million dollars. St. Louis would gain, in being regarded as she is, the Gibraltar of free cities in the slave States.
Owing to the lateness of the hour, several other speakers present were prevented from being called on, and the meeting adjourned, the Sixth Ward Club marching to their rooms, with their torches of freedom blazing.
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