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[399] number of the leading men of the three parties to meet at the American House in Boston July 7; but less than thirty attended.1 Among the Free Soilers at this conference were Samuel Hoar, F. W. Bird, S. C. Phillips, C. F. Adams, Henry Wilson, R. W. Emerson, George F. Hoar, and Marcus Morton, Jr. Less than half-a-dozen Whigs came, and most of these were obstructive. No definite action was taken, for the reason that a call for a fusion mass convention had been issued by other persons interested in the movement, which obtained eight or ten thousand names, and received in some towns the signatures of nearly all the voters.2 It appeared for a time as if the movement would succeed, and Massachusetts become the founder of the new party.3 The Boston influence, however, asserted itself vigorously against it, both through the press and the advice of Abbott Lawrence and other Whig leaders. The Whig journals of the city appealed to the Whigs to keep away from the mass convention and to stand by the Whig organization; and they did their best to revive old animosities by applying the odious epithets to the Free Soilers which for six years had been familiar to the public,—the volume of abuse falling as usual most heavily on Wilson.4 This style of warfare, unworthy as it was, met with a success which it did not deserve. It kept the city Whigs a solid force against the new party, and distracted the country Whigs, who had been well disposed towards it. The Whig journals in the country, finding it impossible under such pressure to carry the body of the Whig voters with them, withdrew from the movement, and rallied their partisans for a contest on the old lines.5 This defeat of popular aspirations was a great disappointment to the best people of the State. It kept alive old griefs, and divided

1 Atlas, July 10; Commonwealth, July 8, 11.

2 Commonwealth, July 14, 15, 17; August 1.

3 3 Sumner wrote E. L. Pierce, April 14, 1854: ‘I receive cheering news from Massachusetts; but party lines are so tight that I almost despair. Oh, when will the North be united?’

4 Advertiser, July 17, 20; August 2, 5, 8, 15, 31; September 5, 8. Atlas, July 1, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28; August 10; September 4, 15, 18, 20; October 14. Journal, June 30; July 19, 22; August 14, 22, 31; September 6, 8, 9. The ‘Atlas’ (September 8) called Wilson ‘the ambitious and unscrupulous leader of the Free Soilers.’ Even after the Know Nothing victory in the autumn, the Whig journals, in defending their opposition to a fusion, called the Free Soil leaders ‘unwise, insincere, hypocritical, and unprincipled.’ Advertiser, November 29; Atlas, November 17.

5 The Springfield Republican, which had zealously advocated the fusion, now gave up the effort as hopeless, but from time to time upbraided the Whig journals and partisans whom it held accountable for the failure,—July 26, 27; August 5, 19, 24, 26; October 24; November 13, 15, 27.

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