Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 1.djvu/541

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year 1864 was opened with a number of Federal resolutions indicating the purpose to meet every demand of war in order to subdue the seceded States. Some of these were insanely violent. Such, for example, as the resolution offered by Mr. Myers to "prosecute the war until the rebellious States be conquered, and when the people have taken the oath they shall be pardoned, their leaders hung and the war cease." Similar ill- tempered resolutions were proposed and passed, and while they were softened by others of a more conciliatory character, yet none which opened the way to any peace negotiations found favor with the Congress. The contest for the party control of the government was near at hand and the preliminary movements having been already made these congressional resolutions were designed to have a bearing upon the ballots in Northern States rather than to show any patriotic purpose to bring the war to speedy and just conclusion. Mr. Chase, lately secretary of the treasury, was an aspirant to the Presidency even while serving in the cabinet, and had united with the ultra radicals of his party in an effort to secure the nomination. His charge against Mr. Lincoln was incompetency and conservatism; but it is difficult even at this date to see how the President could have been less conservative unless he would issue a proclamation of extermination, nor how any other could have better managed the extraordinary difficulties which he encountered in subduing the South. Mr. Chase soon discovered that he had placed himself in a false position and withdrew his name from the contest.

But the Presidential election of 1864 had engaged the attention of the anti- administration leaders of other parties who had been seeking during 1863 some common basis of opposition upon which they might make a successful race. Democrats calling themselves war Democrats and announcing their devotion to the Union held a party conference at Chicago November 24, 1863, preliminary to the call for a national Democratic meeting in