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1 The statement of the condition of public sentiment at the time, and the narrative generally have been materially aided by private letters of the period which have been accessible to the writer.
2 The idea of the petition originated in an interview between Mrs. Harriet B. Stowe and Rev. H. M. Dexter, the former assuming the expense, and the latter undertaking the executive detail. Mr. Dexter, having made a draft of the prayer, submitted it to a meeting of Congregational ministers held in the Old South Chapel in Boston. Rev. Nehemiah Adams, with the approval of Rev. George Blagden, proposed and interlined the amendment ‘in the name of Almighty God and in his presence.’ It is a curious fact that the phrase which gave so much offence to the supporters of the bill was inserted at the instance of two divines distinguished for their Southern sympathies. Mrs. Stowe, in a letter to Sumner, February 23, stated the interest which her father, her husband, and her brothers, as well as herself, had taken in the petition, and urged a well—arranged plan at Washington to give impressiveness to its presentation.
3 Sumner thought the caution of those in charge of the petition ill-advised in intrusting it to Everett rather than to some one who was in full sympathy with its object and disposed to make the most of it. Wilson was of the same opinion.
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