At the time of the disruption, rumors were current in Charleston that the movement, if not prompted, was at least encouraged and sustained by telegrams from leading Senators and Representatives then at their Congressional duties in Washington. As the day for reassembling in Baltimore drew near, the main fact was abundantly proved by the publication of an address, signed by Jefferson Davis, Toombs, Iverson, Slidell, Benjamin, Mason, and some fourteen others, in which they undertook to point out a path to union and harmony in the Democratic party. They recited the withdrawal of eight States at Charleston, and indorsed the step without qualification. “We cannot refrain,” said the address, “from expressing our admiration and approval of this lofty manifestation of adherence to principle, rising superior to all considerations of expediency, to all trammels of party, and looking with an eye single to the defense of the constitutional rights of the States.” They then alleged that the other Democratic States remained in the convention only to make a further effort to secure “some satisfactory recognition of sound principles,” declaring, however, their determination also to withdraw if their just expectation should be disappointed. The address then urged that the seceders should defer their meeting at Richmond, but that they should come to Baltimore and endeavor to effect “a reconciliation of differences on a basis of principle.” If the Baltimore Convention should adopt “a satisfactory platform of principles,”—and their votes might help secure it,—then cause of dissension would have ceased. “On the other hand,” continued the address, “if the convention, on reassembling at Baltimore, shall disappoint the just expectations of the remaining Democratic States, their delegations cannot fail to withdraw and unite with the eight States which have adjourned to Richmond.” The address, in another paragraph, explained that the seventeen Democratic States which had voted at Charleston for the seceders’ platform, “united with Pennsylvania alone, comprise a majority of the entire electoral vote of the United States, able to elect the Democratic nominees against the combined opposition of all the remaining States.”
This was a shrewd and crafty appeal. Under an apparent plea for harmony lurked an insidious invitation to Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania to join the seceders, reconstruct the Democratic party, cut off all the “popular sovereignty” recusants, and secure perpetual ascendency in national politics through the consolidated South. The signers of this address, forgetting their own constant accusation of “sectionalism” against the Republicans, pretended to see no impropriety in proposing this purely selfish and sectional alliance. If it succeeded, their triumph in the Union was irresistible and permanent; if it failed, it served to unite the South for secession and a slave confederacy.