United States Senate election in New York, 1863

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The 1863 United States Senate election in New York was held on February 3, 1863, by the New York State Legislature to elect a U.S. Senator (Class 1) to represent the State of New York in the United States Senate.

Background[edit]

Republican Preston King had been elected in February 1857 to this seat, and his term would expire on March 3, 1863.

At the State election in November 1861, 22 Republicans and 10 Democrats were elected for a two-year term (1862-1863) in the State Senate. At the State election in November 1862, Democrat Horatio Seymour was elected Governor; and a tied Assembly of 64 Republicans and Democrats each was elected for the session of 1863. In December, in the 15th Senate District, Republican William Clark was elected for the session of 1863 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Democrat John Willard. The 86th New York State Legislature met from January 6 to April 25, 1863, at Albany, New York.

The election of a Speaker proved to be difficult in the stalemated Assembly. The Democrats voted for Gilbert Dean, the Republicans for Henry Sherwood, of Steuben Co. The Republicans, led by Chauncey M. Depew, became worried about the U.S. Senate election, due to occur on the first Tuesday in February. If the Assembly was not organized by then, the seat would become vacant, and could remain so until the next elected Assembly met in 1864.[1] The Republicans, with a majority of 14 on joint ballot, were anxious to fill the seat, to have a maximum of support for President Abraham Lincoln in the U.S. Senate during the ongoing American Civil War. Theophilus C. Callicot, a Democratic assemblyman from Brooklyn, approached Depew to propose a deal: the Republicans should vote for Callicot as Speaker, and Callicot would help to elect the Republican candidate to the U.S. Senate. Depew put the proposition before the Republican caucus, and they accepted. On January 16, Sherwood and Dean withdrew. The Republicans then voted for Callicot, the Democrats for Eliphaz Trimmer, of Monroe Co.. The Democrats, whose intention it was to prevent the election of a U.S. Senator,[2] managed to postpone the vote for Speaker by filibustering for another ten days, but on January 26, Callicot was elected Speaker on the 92nd ballot (vote: Callicot 61, Trimmer 59, 3 Democrats were absent and 3 Republicans were paired). Thus the Assembly was organized to begin the session of 1863, three weeks late but in time for the U.S. Senate election.[3]

Candidates[edit]

The caucus of Republican[4] State legislators met on February 2, State Senator Alexander H. Bailey presided. They nominated Ex-Governor Edwin D. Morgan (in office 1859-1862) for the U.S. Senate. The incumbent Senator Preston King was voted down.

1863 Republican caucus for United States Senator result
Office Candidate Informal
ballot
First
ballot
Second
ballot
U.S. Senator Edwin D. Morgan 25 39 50
Preston King 19 16 11
Daniel S. Dickinson 15 11 13
Charles B. Sedgwick 11 7 1
David Dudley Field 7 5 2
Henry J. Raymond 6 8 9
Ward Hunt 4
Henry R. Selden 1
blank 1

The caucus of the Democratic State legislators met on the evening of February 2, State Senator John V. L. Pruyn presided. They did not nominate any candidate, instead adopting a resolution that "each Democratic member of the Legislature be requested to name for that office such person as he deems proper." They met again on the morning of February 3, and nominated Congressman Erastus Corning. The vote in an informal ballot stood: 28 for Corning, 21 for Fernando Wood, and 18 scattering. Wood's name was however withdrawn and Cornings nomination was made unanimous.

Election[edit]

In the Assembly, Edwin D. Morgan received the votes of the 64 Republicans, and Erastus Corning the votes of 62 Democrats. Bernard Hughes (Dem.), of New York City, voted for Ex-Mayor of New York Fernando Wood, and Speaker Callicot voted for John Adams Dix. Thus the vote was tied, and no choice made. Speaker Callicot, although elected by the Republicans, refused to vote for the Republican caucus nominee, insisting in his vote for Dix who had been U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury as a Democrat, but was now a Union General in the Civil War. A second ballot was then taken, and the Republicans took Callicot's hint, and voted for Dix who was nominated by the Assembly. Thus Callicot kept his part of the bargain, knowing that, on joint ballot, the Republican State Senate majority will outvote the Democrats, and elect their candidate. It was just necessary that the Assembly nominate somebody, so that it became possible to proceed to a joint ballot.

In the State Senate, Edwin D. Morgan was nominated.

Both Houses of the Legislature then proceeded to a joint ballot.

Result[edit]

Edwin D. Morgan was declared elected after a joint ballot of the State Legislature.

1863 United States Senator election result
Office House Republican Democrat Also ran
U.S. Senator State Senate
(32 members)
Edwin D. Morgan 23 Erastus Corning 7
State Assembly
(128 members)
first ballot
Edwin D. Morgan 64 Erastus Corning 62 John Adams Dix 1 Fernando Wood 1
State Assembly
(128 members)
second ballot
Erastus Corning 63 John Adams Dix 65
State Legislature
(160 members)
joint ballot
Edwin D. Morgan 86 Erastus Corning 70 John Adams Dix 1 Daniel S. Dickinson 1

Aftermath[edit]

Morgan served one term, and remained in office until March 3, 1869.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In 1819, 1825 and 1839, no U.S. Senator could be elected because nobody was nominated by either the Assembly or the State Senate due to stalemated votes.
  2. ^ IMPORTANT FROM ALBANY.; A New Phase In the Struggle for the Speakership. Withdrawal of Mr. Sherwood from the Contest. Mr. Callicott, of Kings, Democrat, Nominated by the Republicans. Filibustering by the Democrats to Prevent a Vote in NYT on January 17, 1863
  3. ^ IMPORTANT FROM ALBANY; MR. CALLICOTT ELECTED SPEAKER in NYT on January 27, 1863
  4. ^ The newspapers used at the time the terms "Republican", "Republican Union" and "Union" synonymously. Many, but not all, of these legislators had been elected on a Union ticket nominated by Republicans and War Democrats. The word Union also referred to those who supported the incumbent federal administration during the Civil War as opposed to both the Southern "Confederates", and the Anti-War Democrats, headed by Governor Horatio Seymour.

Sources[edit]