earnest and active as they were, exercised a predominant influence in its councils.
Their most trusted leaders—Sumner, Adams
,1 Allen, S. C. Phillips
, and Andrew
—had no sympathy with its aims and methods, and kept aloof from it. Others, however, had less sternness of principle or less scruple as to propriety.
entered the order as early as March, 1854, and sought the nomination for Congress from Boston
,—the very scat of Whig power.
, while openly keeping up his connection with the Republicans, whose nomination for governor he accepted, joined the order in the late summer or early autumn, and assumed thereby, as those who had put him in nomination complained, inconsistent obligations;2
and charges of bad faith were freely made against him. A large proportion of the Free Soil
workers in the towns and cities joined the order.
Its numbers were not reported by authority, but they found their way irregularly to the public,—estimated at fifty thousand voters in the summer, and before its close at seventy thousand or more, and outnumbering all other parties.
It was still, however, with outsiders a matter of conjecture to what extent the enrolled members would on the day of election be found voting against their former political allies.
, who was well advised as to the strength of the order, felt confident of its success; but Whig leaders less informed did not begin to recognize any danger until late in August; and their first serious alarm was in October, when its nominations for members of Congress and State officers (Henry J. Gardner
, a young and active Whig, for governor) became public.
What most troubled these leaders was the predominant influence of Free Soilers in the order, which foreshadowed, in the event of success, the election of Henry Wilson
's successor in the Senate.3
They admitted, however, partial defeat as the worst result that was probable, and were, as well as nearly all outsiders.
astounded at the result.
The Know Nothings polled eighty-one thousand votes, far beyond the number any party had ever before mustered in the State
,—reducing the Whigs
from fifty-nine thousand to twenty-seven thousand, the Democrats from forty thousand (with two