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Lot 198

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Campaign Document Contrasts Lincoln’s Prudence with McClellan’s Scheming to Prolong War

"Mr. Lincoln, as of right he ought to be, will be our President for four years more."

This campaign pamphlet first appeared in the Hartford Daily Courant, a Republican newspaper in Connecticut. Signed pseudonymously by "Teutonia," the article appealed to War Democrats to support the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln and charged General George B. McClellan with having intentionally prolonged the war to produce a political backlash in favor of the Democratic Party. It portrays McClellan as the young dupe of leaders of the Peace Democrats in Washington, who appealed to his vanity and ambition and supported him in criticizing President Lincoln.

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN.] "The President & the Crisis, or An Appeal to the Candid of the Democratic Party." Reprint from Hartford Daily Courant (CT), October 8, 1864. Printed Document. 4 pp., 6.5ʺ x 9.25ʺ. General toning; some edge tears; some separation on middle fold; very good. Ex. The Forbes Collection.


"Since the government was organized and went into operation with George Washington as chief magistrate, no man has filled that high and responsible position, who has been more severely tried, and who has had greater burdens to bear, than the present incumbent. No man can refer to, or read over his carefully worded inaugural address, without feeling that he took the office with the best possible intentions toward every section of the country, and with a just and deliberate determination, if the South remained loyal, to give the people of that section the least possible grounds for just complaint." (p1/c1)

"What paralyzed McClellan’s army? The mystery is easily explained. As soon as he came to Washington, the leaders of his party, Voorhees, Cox, Pendleton, Richardson, Vallandigham and others, gathered around him.... Being a bigoted, pro-slavery democrat, as his whole history proves, he was in sympathy with their views and feelings." (p2/c2)

"They made him believe the President was afraid and was jealous of him. That he should not allow the President or the Secretary of War to urge him into any hazardous engagement. 'Risk nothing,' said they; 'if you can retain your present hold of the country, you will be the next democratic candidate, and nothing can prevent you from being elected.' 'Besides,' said they, 'even if it should occasion delay, delay will save life. It will give the people time to consider, and to see the cruelty of this wicked war. This will produce a reaction in the public mind, and put the democratic party—the only party fit for it—in authority again.' Who can doubt that George B. McClellan, with his strong democratic proclivities, thought this the wisest and safest way for himself and the country?" (p2/c2-p3/c1)

"The history of Gen. McClellan’s campaign cannot be satisfactorily explained in any other way." (p3/c1)

"Nothing in the world saved the country from this humiliation, but the unexpected and surprising victories of Gen. Grant."(p3/c2)

"During the summer months just gone by, we have had another season of public depression. The people became restless, because General Grant has not yet taken Richmond.... this rebel stronghold can now only be taken by cutting off the communications of the rebel army under Lee, which General Grant is successfully doing." (p3/c2)

"The democratic party, once a noble, a virtuous, a loyal party, has by its sympathy for slavery allowed itself to be hopelessly beguiled; and stands to-day in the exact position of the Tories of the Revolution." (p4/c1)

"In being thankful to God, however, let us not forget the difficulties our chief magistrate has had to contend with in the course of this war. He has felt and seen these difficulties as keenly as any one in the country; and nothing but the greatest moderation and prudence on his part has saved us from utter ruin." (p4/c2)

"Mr. Lincoln, as of right he ought to be, will be our President for four years more." (p4/c2)

Historical Background:

The 1864 presidential election pitted President Lincoln against his Democratic challenger, General George B. McClellan. Although McClellan had been the commander of the Army of the Potomac and general-in-chief of the Union Army, the Peace platform adopted by the Democratic National Convention in Chicago declared the war a failure. The party was bitterly divided between War Democrats, who favored continuing the war to restore the Union while leaving slavery alone; moderate Peace Democrats, who favored an armistice and a negotiated peace that would likely protect slavery in a reconstructed union, and radical Peace Democrats, who favored an immediate end to the war without securing Union victory. McClellan was a War Democrat, but the platform was written by radical Peace Democrat Clement Vallandigham, and the convention nominated Peace Democrat George H. Pendleton for vice president.

In 1864, Republicans created the National Union Party to attract War Democrats, Unconditional Unionists, and Unionist Party members who would not vote for the Republican Party, though most state Republican parties did not change their name. President Abraham Lincoln won the nomination of the “National Union Party” at its Baltimore convention, and won re-election with new running mate War Democrat Andrew Johnson.

Although Lincoln was convinced by August 1864 that he would not be reelected, General William T. Sherman’s capture of Atlanta in early September and General Philip Sheridan’s successes in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from August to October ensured his victory. Without the participation of the seceded states, Lincoln and Johnson won 55 percent of the popular vote and an overwhelming 212-to-21 victory in the Electoral College. McClellan and Pendleton carried only Kentucky, Delaware, and McClellan’s home state of New Jersey.

Ex. The Forbes Collection. Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990), American owner-publisher of Forbes magazine, and consummate collector, amassed one of the most substantial and broad collections of such breadth and depth that it filled a half-dozen residences, and sat on three continents. Many of his manuscripts were sold in multi-million-dollar sales by Christie's in the early 2000s. The Forbes name is considered to be the apex of provenance when attached to an item like the one above. We are honored to have been chosen by the family to sell at auction the substantial balance of the collection.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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