That the prospect of Democratic success was exceedingly bright and the probability of a Republican victory extremely dark, was generally conceded. The South was counted upon to be solid in its support of the Democratic ticket, for the methods that had been successfully inaugurated in Mississippi the year before, to overcome a Republican majority of more than twenty thousand, were to be introduced and adopted in all the other States of that section in which conditions were practically the same as in Mississippi.
To insure success, therefore, it was only necessary for the Democrats to concentrate their efforts upon the four doubtful States outside of the Solid South. Up to a certain point the plan worked well. Every indication seemed to point to its successful consummation. As had been anticipated, the Democrats were successful in the four doubtful Northern States, and they also carried, on the face of the returns, every Southern State, just as had been planned; the Mississippi methods having been adopted in such of them as had Republican majorities to overcome. Since through those methods the Democrats had succeeded in overcoming a large Republican majority in Mississippi, there was no reason why the same methods should not produce like results in South Carolina, in Louisiana, and in Florida. In fact, it was looked upon as a reflection upon the bravery and party loyalty of the Democracy of those States if they could not do what had been done under like conditions in Mississippi. Hence those States had to be carried, “peaceably and fairly,” of course, “but they must be carried just the same.” Failure to carry them was out of the question, because too much was involved. According to the plans and calculations that had been carefully made, no Southern State could be lost. While it might be possible to win without all of them, still it was not believed to be safe to run any such risk, or take any such chance. If the Democrats should happen to carry a state that was not included in the combination, so much the better.
Everything seemed to work admirably. That it was a plan by which elections could be easily carried, with or without votes, had been clearly demonstrated. On the face of the returns the majorities were brought forth just as had been ordered and directed. But it seems that such methods had been anticipated by the Republican governments in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida, and that suitable steps had been taken to prevent their successful consummation through the medium of State Returning Boards. When the Returning Boards had rejected and thrown out many of the majorities that had been returned from some of the counties and parishes, the result was changed, and the Republican candidates for Presidential electors were officially declared elected. This gave the Republican candidates for President and Vice-President a majority of one vote in the Electoral College. It has, of course, been alleged by many,—and it is believed