On June 28, also at Baltimore, there came together a collection composed of original seceders at Charleston, and of some who had been rejected and others who had seceded at Baltimore. Very few Northern men were present, and the body in fact represented the Southern wing of the Democracy. Having, like its competitor, the merit of knowing its own mind, it promptly nominated John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky and Joseph Lane of Oregon, and adopted the radical platform which had been reported at Charleston.
These doings opened, so that it could never be closed, that seam of which the thread had long been visible athwart the surface of the old Democratic party. The great record of discipline and of triumph, which the party had made when united beneath the dominion of imperious leaders, was over, and forever. Those questions which Lincoln obstinately and against advice had insisted upon pushing in 1858 had forced this disastrous development of irreconcilable differences. The answers, which Douglas could not shirk, had alienated the most implacable of men, the dictators of the Southern Democracy. His “looking-both-ways” theory would not fit with their policy, and their policy was and must be immutable; modification was in itself defeat. On the other hand, what he said constituted the doctrine to which the mass of the Northern Democracy firmly held. So now, although Republicans admitted that it was “morally certain” that the Democratic party, holding together, could carry the election, yet these men from the Cotton States could not take victory and Douglas together. It had actually come to this, that, in spite of all that Douglas had done for the slaveholders, they now marked him for destruction at any cost. Many also believe that they had another motive; that they had matured their plans for secession; and that they did not mean to have the scheme disturbed or postponed by an ostensibly Democratic triumph in the shape of the election of Douglas.