One of my goals with this blog is to make available any materials related to my research that are not included in the published articles or that I discover at a later date. I recently found a few statements that Hamilton sent to Florida newspapers during his campaign to be re-elected to Congress in late 1868.
Florida did not participate in the national election that Nov. as the state's new Republican administration decided the state wasn't stable or organized enough to vote that November. Instead, Governor Harrison Reed nominated Florida's three electors who, of course, delivered Florida to Grant and Colfax. Reed did, however, arrange for the election of Florida's Congressman to be held but not in November like the rest of the nation, but on Dec. 29. Hamilton was renominated as Florida's Republican candidate for Congress at the Republican state convention on November 3, 1868.
After being informed he had received the Republican party's nomination, Hamilton responded with the following acceptance statement which was published in several newspapers:
Marianna, FLA., Nov. 8th, 1868
E. M. Cheney, Esq.
Sec'y Rep'n State Executive Committee:
MY DEAR SIR – In formally acknowledging the receipt of your courteous communication of the action of the Republican Convention held in Tallahassee on the 3d inst., which resulted in my "unanimous renomination for the Forty-first Congress," it may be my duty to give utterance to more than the mere acceptance of the nomination.
It is truly gratifying to me to know that this result met with such cordial acceptance and that the convention closed amid the utmost harmony.
The issue which are presented for our earnest consideration in the coming canvass are few and clearly defined. They are: the successful accomplishment of Reconstruction upon the Congressional basis – the permanent establishment of free Republican Institutions in this State, and the earnest vindication and maintenance of the Republican "Carpet-Bag" State Government inaugurated upon that basis, with Loyalty, Intelligence, Universal Suffrage, and Equal Rights as the four cardinal cornerstones of its foundation; the extension of the great principle of uniform suffrage over all the States by amendment of the National Constitution; the speedy education and elevation of the laboring masses; the preservation of our country's credit inviolate by the payment of National securities and interest, in gold, or in greenbacks, according to the specifications of the bond; the reduction of taxation as pedial as the public necessity will admit; the acknowledgement of the present pressing necessity of the polity of free trade; the removal of political disabilities from disenfranchised ex-rebels as soon as this may be safely done; the strict and faithful adherence to the creed of the Union that loyal men shall protect and rule what loyal men have saved and made.
For each and all of these issues I take my uncompromising stand in the affirmative, and while, with modest diffidence, I tender my acceptance of the grateful thanks for the consideration bestowed by the nomination, I call upon those who have honored me with their confidence and support in the boisterous past to rally again under the Republican banner and bear it on to the third glorious victory awaiting it on the 29th of December.
The voter is as deeply interested in the success of the party as the candidate can be, for the victory of the one is the triumph of the other, and defeat is the overthrow alike of both.
Having just returned from a visit to every part of the State, and everywhere witnessed the happy earnestness of our host of Republicans, I congratulate the party upon this universal harbinger of success.
While it is unfortunate that at this time the attempted impeachment of our Governor – which unlooked for ever I sincerely deplor – has given rise to uncertainty and doubt, I trust and believe that this event will not disturb the unity of the Republican party, or be allowed to endanger its success in the upcoming election, and I trust that the party will stand by and sustain the present legally constituted authorities of the State until a competent tribunal has decided that they do not deserve our support, for in the united force of the party is our only hope of success.
Yours, very respectfully,
Charles M. Hamilton
[Sources: Jacksonville Florida Union 12/3/1868; (Tampa) The True Southerner 12/10/1868]