[From The Philadelphia Times, July 6, 1891.]
THE death of Hannibal Hamlin, one of the few lingering picturesque characters of the political revolution that conquered armed rebellion and effaced slavery, has inspired very free discussion of the early conflicts of Republicanism and of the relations which existed between Lincoln and Hamlin. Hamlin was one of the central figures of the first national Republican battle in 1856; he was the first elected Republican Vice-President; his personal relations with President Lincoln were admittedly of the most agreeable nature; his public record while Vice-President had given no offense to any element of his party; and his then unexpected and now apparently unexplainable defeat for renomination with Lincoln in 1864 has elicited much conflicting discussion.
Looking back over the dark days of civil war, with their often sudden and imperious necessities in field and forum, and in political directions as well, it is often difficult to explain results in accord with the sunnier light of the present; and as yet we have seen no explanation of the rejection of Vice-President Hamlin in 1864 that presents the truth. Most of our contemporaries which have discussed the question have assumed that the defeat of Hamlin was accomplished against the wishes of Lincoln. This point is taken up in the elaborate Life of Lincoln by Nicolay and Hay, and they assume to settle it by stating that Mr. Lincoln was accused by members of the Baltimore Convention of preferring a Southern or a new man for Vice-President, and Mr. Nicolay communicated with Lincoln on the subject and reported a denial of Lincoln's purpose to interfere in the contest.