Report of Proceedings of the Whig Convention at Peoria, Illinois regarding Candidates for President and Vice President, 19 June 1844
RESOLUTIONS UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED BY THE CONVENTION.
Resolved, That the Whigs of Illinois respond to the nomination of Henry Clay as the Whig candidate for the Presidency, by the Whig National Convention, with an enthusiasm only equalled by that which it was made; that the great statesman of the West commands not only our admiration, for his brilliant and eminently practical talents, our respect and gratitude for his invaluable and ever patriotic services to our country, but the warmest and deepest feelings of our hearts for the noble and generous qualities so pecullarly characteristic of our gallant Harry of the West.1
Resolved, That in Theodore Frelinghuysen, the nominee of the vice-presidency, we recognize an able and eloquent advocate of Whig principles, a statesman whose talents have given lustre to our national councils, a man whose pure life and active philanthropy commend him to the esteem of every good citzen, and who, in all the varied relations of life through which he has passed, has shown himself to be “without fear and without reproach.”
Resolved, therefore, That the Whigs of Illinois in Convention assembled, hereby cordially ratify and confirm the nominations of the Whig National Convention, and pledge themselves to use all honorable efforts to insure their favorable reception and ratification at the polls in November next.
Resolved, That thus responding to the nomination of Henry Clay for the Presidency, we hereby cordially adopt and affirm the principles which have guided, and have been so proverbially illustrated by that great man, in his long and brilliant carrer[career] as an American Statesman.
That foremost in importance among those principles we recognize and affirm, that of providing a national revenue by a tariff of duties on foreign importations, so adjusted that while it will yield no more than is necessary for an economical and efficient administration of the federal government, will at the same time afford equal protection and encouragement to every branch of American Industry.
That, next in importance, in its effects upon the interests and welfare of the whole country, we regard the plan of distributing the proceeds of the public lands among the several States, as well on account of its intrinsic justice and expediency, as of its tendency to produce uniformity and stability in our National Legislation in regard to the revenue.
That the establishment of a sound currency, the practical restriction of the veto power, so that it may not be wielded to the centralization of all power in the hands of a corrupt and despotic Executive; the limitation of the presidential office to one term; the non-interference of all officers of the government as such, in elections; an economical, faithful and impartial administration of the government—and reform of all those abuses which have sprung out of the corrupt use of the power of appointments, are also objects which claim our approval, and challenge our untiring efforts to secure their accomplishments.
That the Whigs of Illinois, although often beaten in their political battles, have never yet been conquered, and that at the ides of November next, at the polls, we will fall into the phalanx of the Whig States, with a majority that shall show that in “every peril” the Suckers are willing to “divide the danger.”2
Letters were then read from several distinguished gentlemen, who had been invited to attend. Among others, one from Henry Clay, another from Millard Fillmore, of N.Y., Francis Granger, of do., and others, declining to attend, from the great distance, and other engagements.
Speeches were then the order of the day, and Uriel Wright, Esq.[Esquire], of St. Louis was called to the stand, and for more than an hour, he enchained the attention of the thousands present, with a speech, in most excellent taste, filled with political truths, amusing anecdotes applicable to the times and parties, and convincing and unanswerable argument. Next in order was D. M. Woodson, Esq., candidate for Congress in this district. He excused himself in a short speech, by remarking that he was on a canvass of the district, and should visit every county of the same and publicly address the people. E. D. Baker, Esq., was next called out, and made one of his best speeches. To speak of the merits of this gentleman as a speaker, would be out of place here, as he is so well known and so universally admired, that we could add nothing in his praise. M. P. Sweet, candidate for Congress in the Sixth District, was next called to the stand, and although a new man down this way, his speech drew forth long and loud plaudits from the people. Mr. Morrison, Esq., of St. Clair, was next called out, and though quite a youth in appearance, his words were those of wisdom and experience. Ben Bond, Esq., of Clinton, was next in order, and made a speech in his characteristic, forcible, cut and thrust manner. The Convention then adjourned, until after supper, when Mr. A. Lincoln, of Springfield, made an able argument in defence of whig principles. He was followed by Dr. McDowell,3 D. J. Baker, Jos. Gillaspie, and we believe others. Mr. E. S. Austin,4 also occupied the stand, in singing some of his favorite whig songs. During the afternoon and evening, the immense crowds in the streets, were addressed by Dr. Vandevener, of Brown, Kilpatrick, of Scott, and John H. Mitchell, Esq., of Warren and others whose names are unknown to us.
The Convention adjourned around 12 o’clock in the best harmony and good feeling, and with a firm determination to do all that good whigs can do, to redeem Illinois from the power of a party that has for years borne down her giant energies, and frittered away those means and advantages, which in better hands, and with wiser councils, would have elevated our State to the highest point of greatness and prosperity.
1On May 1, 1844, the Whig National Convention at Baltimore nominated Henry Clay and Theodore Frelinghuysen as its candidates for president and vice president, respectively, in the presidential election of 1844.
Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 16 May 1844, 2:2-4.
2At the election on November 4, 1844, James K. Polk won over fifty-four percent of the Illinois vote, with Henry Clay earning a little over forty-two percent.
In the nineteenth century, Illinois was known as the “sucker state,” and Illinoisans as “suckers.”
Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 149; Edward Callary, Place Names of Illinos (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 338-39.
Printed Document, 1 page(s), Quincy Whig (Quincy, IL), 26 June 1844, 2:3.