The Democratic Machine, 1850-1854

By Roy Franklin Nichols | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
THE CRISIS SAFELY PASSED

THE scene shifts from Washington to Baltimore. During the last two weeks of May the capital had been in turmoil. Delegates were arriving daily and no efforts were spared by the friends of the various candidates to lead them to see the true light. It is stated that even Presidential aspirants participated in disgusting scenes in oyster-cellar and barroom. There the electioneering resembled "a vulgar barbecue where county offices were solicited." Baltimore was but an intensified duplicate. The city was crowded. Besides some six hundred delegates there were any number of hangers-on, spectators, political scavengers. The hotels were packed to suffocation, the lobbies were filled with crowds dimly discernible through tobacco smoke. Guffaws, quarrels, heated arguments were punctuated by the hissing of spitoons. Everywhere was noise, confusion and intoxication. For the next few days many slept little and ate less, but drank much.1

Friends of the candidates had their headquarters in which centered delegates and workers. To these and to all comers were dispensed all manner of eatables and drinkables--on the principle that the way to a man's vote was through his stomach. Cass men had no regular headquarters or organization but individuals like Jesse D. Bright, General Aaron Ward of New York, and Simon Cameron were mov-

____________________
1
Cincinnati Gazette, June 9, 1852; Field, Memories of Many Men, p. 157; v. p. 130, notes 1-4.

-129-

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