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[503] Breckinridge of Kentucky as the ‘regular’ Democratic candidate.

The triumph of the Republican Party was now a foregone conclusion, and all eyes were turned in scrutiny upon Lincoln. To the country at large he was an obscure, not to say an unknown man. His visit to New England in the fall of 1848, when, during the Congressional recess, he took the stump for Zachary Taylor, had made no impression.1 ‘Who is this huckster in politics?’ asked Wendell Phillips at the New England Convention on May 30.2 ‘Who is this county-court advocate? Who is this who does not know whether he has got any opinions [about slavery]?’ It fell to Mr. Phillips, unhappily, to give the cue to the abolitionists concerning Mr. Lincoln. Such examination as he bestowed on the Illinois lawyer's brief Congressional career caused him to misinterpret and unjustly characterize a measure of Lincoln's intended to3 effect abolition in the District of Columbia, but accompanied by what seemed a necessary provision for the surrender of fugitive slaves —else had the District become a refuge for them from the adjoining States of Maryland and Virginia, and from the whole seaboard. Singling out this provision, Mr. Phillips published in the Liberator of June4 22, 1860, a stinging article, headed, ‘Abraham Lincoln, the Slave-hound of Illinois,’ and beginning: ‘We gibbet a Northern hound to-day, side by side with the infamous Mason of Virginia.’ Mr. Garrison very reluctantly5 admitted both the caption and the text (of the justice of which he had no means of forming an opinion), and only in consideration of the article being signed. Mr. Lincoln did not lack defenders, and in the end Mr. Phillips 6

1 At Worcester, Mass., on Sept. 13, 1848, he repeated Mr. Webster's remark, that the nomination of Van Buren by a professedly anti-slavery party was either a trick or a joke; and declared, on his own account, that, ‘of the three parties then asking the confidence of the country, the new one had less of principle than any other, adding, amid shouts of laughter, that the recently constructed, elastic Free-Soil platform reminded him of nothing so much as the pair of trousers offered for sale by a Yankee pedlar, which were “ large enough for any man and small enough for any boy” ’ (R. C. Winthrop, Jr.'s, “Memoir of David Sears,” p. 16).

2 Lib. 30.89.

3 Jan. 10, 1849; Lib. 30.119.

4 Lib. 30.99.

5 J. M. Mason.

6 Lib. 30.119.

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