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The San Francisco Daily Morning Call, September 9, 1864


Several hundred men and boys of all political colors, were gathered at the Plaza last evening to see the sky rockets, look at the pictures and hear the music and speeches. It was expected, of course, that all the apostles and prophets, saints and martyrs of the peace makers and the Constitution preservers would display themselves, no matter how diverse in their different shades of Democratic conservatism, as the exponents of the party that is now vaunting its determination to wreak a terrible retribution on the members and supporters of the present Administration, under the leadership of George B. McClellan. While the speakers were concentrating their thoughts for the grand effort before them, the lights were suddenly extinguished and darkness became visible. The accident was ominous. Soon, however, all was ablaze again, and the work of the evening begun. Colonel Hayne was chosen to preside over the meeting. A very moderate and carefully guarded inaugural embodied his appreciation of the honor thus conferred on him, and his views in regard to the conduct and results of the forthcoming campaign. He had always been a Democrat and a thorough Union man, opposed to dismemberment under any circumstances whatever. He defined the policy of the Democratic party, and expressed his belief that the salvation of the country lay through the Democratic party. Colonel H. was disposed to be charitable towards his opponents, and, on the whole, showed that parental solicitude and the good example of Republican politicians have not been entirely lost on him. After the Chairman had closed his remarks, the Hon. H. P. Barbour of Tuolumne was presented to the meeting. He spoke of the humiliation of the party, during the while past, but congratulated himself and his audience that the genius of civil liberty had rolled away the stone from the tomb, and the Democratic party had come forth. He abhorred the man whose argument is vituperation and epithets in a political discussion. He challenged an impeachment of his Unionism or his patriotism; deprecated this fratricidal war; arraigned the Administration for nullification and negro equality; pointed to a Democratic Administration as the only hope for the restoration of the unity of the nation and the Government; declared his confidence in the issue of the campaign, and exhorted the party to unity of action, asking no quarter, but to fight under the motto of "victory or death." He considered himself better than a negro any day.

Mr. Doyle, one of the Electors for the State at large, delivered a short address. His effort was rather feeble, characterized by moderation entirely unnatural to Democratic speakers. The whole substance of his speech was, that after trying Mr. Lincoln's Administration for three and a half years, the nation were satisfied that to continue it would only be to sink the country inextricably in ruin. A man is needed at the head of affairs who combines the elements of civilian and soldier; who knows exactly the right thing to do and the right time to do it in. McClellan is the man. The mind of the speaker lit for a moment on the Monroe Doctrine, and finally eliminated through his organs of speech in feeble tones, the expression of a desire to vote for a competent man.

Mr. Wm. T. Coleman responded to a call in a speech made up of a little glorification, followed by the usual expressions of confidence in the result of the party, vindicating his own loyalty, and pointing to McClellan as the man who is to restore our primal fraternity. Mr. C. said he was not a sycophantic Peace man - a clamorer for peace on any terms, whatever. He wanted to see a pacification between the States as speedily as possible, but one based only upon honorable terms.

After Mr. Coleman closed, a Mr. Hamilton was introduced, and was the first speaker of the evening to cross the bounds of moderation. Before he exhibited his positive sympathy for the South, we had begun to think that the discreet caution or sober temper of the declaimers would afford but such slight grounds for criticism, beyond their usual arrogations, and their reflections upon the war policy of the Administration. We have not space to give even an epitomized report of any of the speeches, but suffice it to say that Hamilton with the growing vehemence of his nervous temperament, declaimed immoderately against the Administration; asked the people if they were prepared to respond to its bloody mandates; declared that but for the fact that they saw relief in an approaching election day, the opponents of the Administration would have resisted with blood, and that those who attempted to carry out its measures would long ere this have been in their graves. The speaker grew more virulent as he progressed, and sounds of dissatisfaction were heard from different persons on the stand. His speech was not well received. Hamilton has certainly mistaken his party - he can't vote for McClellan; he'd better go and get a situation in Jeff. Davis' cabinet. His speech was the regular old stereotyped Radical Copperhead tirade - not even excepting the attack on ministers of the gospel.

In appropriate order, followed next C. L. Weller. His first remark was a fling at General McDowell, referring to Bull Run. He is troubled with Alcatraz on the brain. He inflicted upon his hearers that exaggerated woe of his morbid imagination, which he glories in parading on every possible occasion, and with which he ardently hopes to create a current of sympathy and devotion which will carry him irresistibly to high political preferment.

We left Mr. Weller alternating between General McDowell and the Chicago nominee. His chief idea in approving the nomination of General McClellan seemed to be that he could now rant, vituperate and ad minister such counsel as he saw fit, and yet vindicate his loyalty by drawing on General McClellan's well known patriotism and constancy to the Union.

During one stage of the meeting, two speakers divided the attention of the crowd. W. D. Sawyer, Esq., had been called upon by some who were too remote to hear the speakers on the stand, and he addressed them from the west side of the Plaza.

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